Tony Gillan: Class act Jordan Pickford will have to go, but only for a suitably huge transfer fee

Outstanding talent: Sunderland keeper Jordan Pickford.
Outstanding talent: Sunderland keeper Jordan Pickford.
Have your say

It’s now generally accepted that the departure of Sunderland’s most valuable asset seems far more of a “when” than an “if.”

Forget any pompous nonsense you may hear along the lines of “they’d keep him if they had any ambition”/

No club in Sunderland’s current predicament would do anything different. The trick is not to be in the predicament in the first place.

But we are where we are and, in the nicest possible sense, Jordan Pickford must go: for the right price.

His value has been a matter of debate for some time now among supporters. But what do the “experts” think?

Danny Murphy recently made the mistake of speaking on the subject.

The previous time he had passed opinion on anything Sunderland was after the game at Hull City.

That was when he declared that an incident in the first half should have resulted in a penalty to the home team – but also a free kick to the visitors. We pay him for that too.

He waffled about Pickford: “He’s only had one half-decent season. You’ve got to be careful sometimes judging goalkeepers who make a million saves every week because they’re behind a poor team.”

Danny’s problem with Pickford would seem to be that he just makes too many of those damn saves.

The notion that a keeper in a top side who has to make one decent save per game, somehow has superior talent and powers of concentration to one who is forced into almost constant action, is something that hasn’t occurred to most rational observers.

Danny’s comments were made on Football Focus, shortly after his confident assertion that Arsène Wenger would soon leave Arsenal.

Martin Samuel, in the Daily Mail, said: “Sunderland are optimistically talking of attracting £30million for Pickford, at 23, rated one of the best young goalkeepers in the country. Everton intend to bid £10m, which may be closer to reality.”

The irony of Martin questioning someone else’s grasp of reality is easy to locate. He is the ghost writer for and toady-in-chief to honest ‘Arry Redknapp; a four-times relegated, serial-drivelist who always enjoys a spot of Sunderland-bashing.

In fairness, most of the media has grasped just how good Pickford is. Jamie Redknapp has thrown off the shackles of family tradition by talking sense, describing him as “a shining light in a dismal season for Sunderland”.

Luke Edwards. in the Telegraph. wrote: “Believe the hype – Jordan Pickford could be the best goalkeeper England has produced in a decade.”

Pickford is better than Butland, Heaton or Foster. All four are better than Joe Hart.

Despite Danny Murphy’s rubbish about a “half-decent” season, Pickford has already proved himself to be second-to-none as a shot-stopper. He is also confidently commands his penalty area.

So what’s Pickford worth? In a week when Manchester City paid £35million for Ederson Moraes from Benfica, the answer would seem to be “rather a lot”.

Unlike other journalists, I’m not going to feign comprehensive knowledge of the Brazilian goalie.

But I do know he is the same age as Pickford, has never played a full international and turned out for Benfica just 37 times (behind a far better defence than his Sunderland counterpart).

I don’t know if he is better than Pickford or not and it’s impossible to make a convincing argument either way.

In short; if Moraes is worth such a pile then why not Pickford?

It isn’t just Moraes.

Look the fees for players in other positions.

If Patrick van Aanholt was worth £14m, Moussa Sissoko £30m, Paul Pogba £89m ... etc

The Liverpool Echo reported that Everton “would be willing to go as high as £15m”.

If such a bid is even worthy of a response, then it should be a very short one.