Sunderland keen to fend off transfer interest in Ross Stewart with new long-term contract

Sunderland want to reward Ross Stewart for his outstanding campaign with a new long-term contract.

There is significant interest in the 25-year-old, who has been called into the Scotland squad for their World Cup qualifiers after scoring at Wembley.

That took his tally to the campaign for 26 from 49 matches.

Remarkably, Stewart started every single league game of the campaign.

Reports earlier in the season suggested that contract talks between club and the player's representatives had been paused in order to focus fully on the promotion push.

And speaking to The Echo earlier this week, Sporting Director Kristjaan Speakman has indicated that they will be back on the agenda this summer.

Stewart is one of a number of players set to be rewarded for their form through the campaign.

"Yeah," Speakman said.

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Sunderland striker Ross Stewart

"Look, there are several who would be in that batch of players that we think have got contracts, but that we want to protect the club and create the right structure.

"Ross has had an incredible season so for us, we’re always trying to protect players like that who have performed so well and naturally, you want to try and reward players.

"It gives inspiration to other people as well [to perform] and you want to keep that cycle going. You want that culture at the club."

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Stewart has one year left on his current deal, but Sunderland are protected by a clause that allows them to extend it automatically for a further season.

However, they are eager to reward his status as one of the team's most important players.