Sunderland retained list: Four senior players released and three offered new deals as major calls confirmed

Sunderland are in talks with Bailey Wright, Lynden Gooch and Patrick Roberts over extending their Wearside careers.

By Phil Smith
Wednesday, 25th May 2022, 5:37 pm

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All three see their current deals expire at the end of the next month but the Black Cats have confirmed their intent to keep the trio in their retained list.

Roberts had a clause in his initial six-month deal to automatically extend it longer term, but the threshold was not met. However, Sunderland are eager to sign him and the player himself is open to staying. He ended the season in superb form, scoring a memorable goal against Sheffield Wednesday in the second leg of the League One semi final.

Lynden Gooch ended the campaign strongly out of position, and his attitude and versatility are valued highly by the Black Cats hierarchy.

Sunderland winger Aiden McGeady will leave the club this summer

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Bailey Wright has been a key player both on and off the pitch during the run in, and looks likely at this stage to be an important figure again next season.

Sunderland have also confirmed that Aiden McGeady, Arbenit Xhemajli, Lee Burge and Jordan Willis will all leave the club when their current contracts expire next month.

McGeady was the club’s second longest-serving player after Gooch, and has been an immensely popular player during his five-year stint at the club.

The talented winger scored 36 goals in 150 appearances for the club, including a memorable brace in the 2019 Checkatrade Trophy final defeat on penalties to Portsmouth. He also added a significant number of assists, particularly last season when he returned from a first-team exile imposed by Phil Parkinson to shine under Lee Johnson in a remarkable second half of the campaign.

As well as his quality, supporters respected the way he regularly played through the pain barrier to try and lift the club out of the third tier.

Speaking in the aftermath of the win at Wembley, in which he was an unused substitute, McGeady told The Echo: “It was good to be part of it.

"I have enjoyed it here massively, hence why I’ve stayed for so long.”

Willis and Xhemajli both saw their Sunderland careers affected significantly by injury.

Willis was one of Sunderland’s best signings of the League One area but has not played since early last year due to a patellar tendon issue. He recently began doing some recovery work on the grass as he looks to step up his return.

Xhemajli suffered a major knee ligament issue shortly after his arrival in the summer of 2020, but did manage to play a part in the club’s promotion. Most notably, he produced a tremendous 90-minute display on league debut against Wigan Athletic, helping his side to a 3-0 win that revived the campaign and delivered Alex Neil his first three points as Sunderland head coach.

Burge made 66 appearances across three seasons with the club after joining on a free transfer from Coventry City.

Sunderland have also confirmed a number of departures from the club’s U23 side.

Cieran Dunne, Jack McIntyre, Kenton Richardson, Nicky Gyamih-Bio, Patrick Almond, Sam Wilding, Stephen Wearne, Tyrese Dyce, Ugonna Emenike, Vinnie Steels and Will Harris have all been released.

Will Grigg, Sunderland’s record signing of the League One era, will also leave on a free this summer as expected.