Sunderland fan blog: Optimism levels high on Wearside thanks to major contract boost
The news of Elliot Embleton’s long-term contract should increase the optimism among Sunderland fans on Wearside.
Off the back of the news that Embleton signed a new four-year deal on Wednesday, it remains clear what direction the club appears to be going.
Since the arrival of Lee Johnson, Kyril Louis-Dreyfus and Kristjaan Speakman, Sunderland have certainly explored the more youthful side of the club with academy graduates such as Embleton and Dan Neil becoming mainstays in the side so far this season.
That, added with the youth specific approach in the transfer window with the likes of Callum Doyle, 18, Dennis Cirkin, 19, and Niall Huggins, 20, all joining the club, Sunderland fans should be very optimistic for the future of the club under the current ownership.
It’s a huge change in approach in comparison to that of previous regimes, specifically Stewart Donald, who was happy to sell numerous youth players and replace them with players that were well past their use by date.
Arguably, the biggest change is seeing the club pursue new contracts for these players at the earliest opportunity with Denver Hume and Embleton already extending their stay and word on the street that the club are actively working on new deals for others.
Bali Mumba, George Honeyman, Sam Greenwood and Josh Maja are just a few names that spring to mind that were sold for pennies despite having the potential to become starters in Sunderland’s first team.
Unlike in recent years, there now appears to be a clear pathway for youth prospects to make their way to the top of the club at the Stadium of Light.
Dan Neil has become a fan favourite at the club and numerous other academy players have made their debuts so far this season with Kenton Richardson, Will Harris and Stephen Wearne all making appearances in the early stages of the Papa John’s Trophy and impressing at that.
For the first time in a long time, it feels like the club has a clear plan in place and it’s certainly one that I am excited to be a part of.