Sunderland transfer news: Kristjaan Speakman gives update on Ross Stewart contract talks

Kristjaan Speakman says he remains confident that contract talks with Ross Stewart will reach a ‘sensible conclusion’.

Stewart is technically out of contract at the end of this season, but Sunderland are protected by a clause that allows them to extend it automatically for a further season.

Ideally Sunderland hope to reward his progress and outstanding form with a new, long-term deal before then.

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“Ross is someone that we've been having conversations with regarding his contractual status since Spring,” Speakman said.

Ross Stewart celebrates his brace against Rotherham United

“They're ongoing, positive conversations. We have the option of an extra year on Ross' contract so he's still got 22 months left, so I don't think we're in a situation where we need to be panicking about it.

“I appreciate that [the demand] when you've got a player with the profile of Ross and the success that he's had, he's a top guy who has come here, adapted and delivered.

“We want to get him tied down for longer, as you do with any player with that has done what he's done.

“We want to get to a solution on that, we want it to be right for Ross and the football club. I'm sure that there's a sensible conclusion.”

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Asked how close he felt the two parties were to reaching an agreement and whether he wanted to secure it before that option came into consideration, Speakman said: “Yeah, listen, you've got one of the top goal scorers in the league last season, up there this season, of course you don't those conversations to run forever.

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We've had those conversations, but neither side have been dialling up the pressure because there's been the transfer window and a lot of things going on.

“If his contract was a year shorter then that would be bubbling to the top of the list, naturally. I've had loads of conversations with Ross, he's a top lad, he wants to play in a competitive team and he wants to be the best version of himself.

“I think now that we've got the window out of the way I think we can have a more detailed conversation about getting that over the line.”