Transfer and takeover latest, radical EFL contract plans revealed plus Jim Rodwell's first interview: The best Sunderland AFC stories of the week
New Sunderland chief executive Jim Rodwell has been speaking for the first time since his appointment, Phil Parkinson has given an insight into how he is coping with the suspension of football and his summer transfer plans.
Phil Smith held his weekly Q&A with the latest takeover update plus there was news on Sunday that 16-year-old Joe Hugill is close to joining Manchester United.
We also revealed the latest EFL contract plans to help clubs with a big dilemma coming their way.
Here are the best of the stories from the Echo’s football desk this week:
Manchester United are on the brink of concluding another deal for one of the brightest prospects in the Sunderland academy.
16-year-old Joe Hugill has enjoyed an outstanding campaign on Wearside and was even fastracked into the U23 team earlier this year.
That attracted the attention of some of the Premier League’s biggest clubs, and it’s understood that Manchester United have won the race for his signature.
With Hugill unable to sign professional terms at Sunderland until he turns 17 later this year, he is free to make the switch to Old Trafford.
The two clubs have agreed a compensation package and a deal is expected to be concluded soon.
Jim Rodwell opens up on landing Sunderland role, the brief set by Stewart Donald and potential club sale
Sunderland’s new CEO insists that the possible sale of the club does not affect his role and plans.
Jim Rodwell’s appointment was confirmed last week and while the nationwide lockdown means he is not yet based on Wearside, he has begun work and is in regular dialogue with Stewart Donald and the board.
In a statement released last week, the club said that the appointment did not impact Donald’s intentions to find a new buyer.
Donald told talkSPORT earlier this month that the ‘couple’ of interested parties were ‘pausing for breath’ in light of the COVID-19 crisis.
Rodwell’s primary focus will be improving the football operation at the club and he says any talks to sell the club will have no impact on his work in that regard.
Phil Parkinson is continuing preparations for a possible return to League One action and has begun exploring potential summer recruitment opportunities.
Parkinson is one of a small number of club staff working from home as the COVID-19 crisis continues.
The fate of Sunderland’s campaign remains unknown, with it still unclear whether it will be possible to complete the remaining fixtures on the pitch.
Nevertheless, the EFL remain determined to return behind closed doors when safe to do so and so Parkinson is keen to ensure Sunderland are as prepared as they can be.
Exclusive: The radical EFL plans to help Sunderland and their League One rivals navigate looming contract crisis
Sunderland and their fellow EFL clubs have been sent a series of proposals that could be implemented to try and navigate the complex issue of player contracts expiring on June 30th.
Sunderland have twelve players due to leave the club at the end of the current campaign, though some of those are loan deals from other clubs.
The EFL remain determined to conclude the season behind closed doors when safe to do so, but they have estimated that this could take 56 days.
With the nationwide lockdown continuing, it therefore seems certain that the campaign will have to continue into July, which could leave clubs without the services of many of their players.
Sunderland AFC takeover timelines, contract latest and the EFL's big dilemma: Phil Smith's Q&A
Phil Smith held his weekly Q&A with Sunderland AFC supporters.
There were questions on the latest takeover news, contract talks plus much, much more.