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Sunderland AFC transfer news: The first five deals being targeted and how likely they are

With the release of the retained list what Sunderland hope will be their first raft of summer business has become clear.

By Phil Smith
Thursday, 26th May 2022, 10:45 am

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The Black Cats are hoping to secure Patrick Roberts, Bailey Wright and Lynden Gooch to new deals, while also bringing at least one of last season’s loanees back to the club.

So how likely is all of that and what are the key factors at play?

We run it through for you..

Lynden Gooch celebrates Sunderland's play-off win

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PATRICK ROBERTS

Roberts initially signed a six-month deal on Wearside after leaving Manchester City, but the deal included a clause that would automatically extend his contract.

The threshold was in the end not met, which means Sunderland are essentially going back to the drawing board in looking to secure his future.

However, there is good reason to be upbeat.

Sunderland winger Patrick Roberts

A lack of early appearances at the club was mainly just a reflection of Roberts' match fitness after a long spell without regular football in France.

He ended the campaign in excellent form, a key fixture in the play-off campaign.

Alex Neil clearly rates him highly, and he has a lot of Championship experience already under his belt.

Roberts himself told The Athletic in an interview before the final at Wembley that at 25 and with eight clubs already under his belt, he wants to put down roots at a club.

“To be settled somewhere is a big aim," Roberts said.

“This summer, I don’t know what’s going to happen but right now I’m at the club and I’m enjoying it. I hope it may continue. I want to be part of something.”

Those play-off appearances will undoubtedly have strengthened Roberts' hand and there will inevitably be interest from elsewhere, too.

But that the broad strokes of an agreement to make this a long-term partnership were put in place in January can only bode well.

LYNDEN GOOCH

Gooch has a big decision to make at what could be a defining moment in his career.

His versatility makes offering him a new deal a no-brainer for Sunderland, as does his professionalism and down-to-earth attitude.

Gooch's emotional bond to the club where he has spent his entire career and now has strong family roots is also clear, and further evidenced by his tears on the Wembley turf.

The forward, though, admitted last month in an interview with The Echo that he had found this season 'extremely difficult'. Asked to play in unfamiliar defensive positions, criticism of his performances had stung and taken their toll.

It's obvious that he would ideally like to play in more attacking positions, ideally the central one where he produced a very good goal and assist record under Phil Parkinson.

Whether Sunderland can offer that remains to be seen.

Before those closing weeks of the campaign it definitely looked as if a fresh start was a very real possibility, particularly if the campaign ended in more disappointment.

Now Gooch will surely be reluctant to give up the chance of playing Championship football, particularly for Sunderland.

What it certainly won't be is an entirely straightforward decision, particularly not if we look at it from a purely footballing perspective.

BAILEY WRIGHT

Wright has been a crucial player all campaign for Sunderland but his performances hit another level under Neil.

He was the cornerstone of the club's improved defensive record and also played a key role off the pitch as one of the club captains.

Wright has recently shelved all talk of his future in order to fully focus on the promotion tilt but speaking to The Echo around the Christmas period, he confirmed that he hoped to play his way into a future at the club beyond this season.

"I've made it clear that I enjoy it here, I have big ambitions for myself and what I want to achieve and that includes Sunderland and getting promoted," Wright said.

"I'd like to stay, whether conversations happen is not down to me.

"We'll see what happens."

At this stage the omens look very good in terms of the Australian extending his stay on Wearside.

Sunderland will definitely need to strengthen their defensive ranks further, but Weight has Championship experience aplenty and alongside Danny Batth can play a big role in the transition period.

THE RETURNING LOANEES?

Kristjaan Speakman confirmed earlier this week that Sunderland would open talks with Everton this week about bringing Nathan Broadhead back to the club next season.

Broadhead had some injury issues but that is felt mainly to be a natural result of the punishing League One workload for a player without much previous experience of senior football. On the pitch Broadhead proved he has Championship quality.

Speakman also said that the club would 'investigate' bringing back some of the other loanees from last season.

It's thought that Jack Clarke will certainly be in that category, having finished the season in good form. Like Roberts, Clarke is a player who has not just Championship experience but experience of thriving at a club with big expectations.

Any deal for Broadhead or Clarke would not be simple as they currently have a year left on their respective contracts.

That rules out a quick loan return, as Everton and Spurs are unlikely to let them run down their contract.

So Sunderland would either have to meet their current valuation, or try and enter the market for a loan were they to agree contract extensions.

Either way, there will be competition.

Leon Dajaku's loan has automatically been converted to a permanent deal as a result of promotion, but Thorben Hoffmann's has not. Given Anthony Patterson's strong form at the end of the campaign, it remains to be seen whether a return would work for player or for club.

It is not yet clear whether Sunderland will return for Callum Doyle, whose playing time at the end of the season was limited but whose impact over the full season was good.