Transfer news: Arsenal, Brighton and Rangers show interest in Sunderland man - everything we know

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Everything you need to know on the transfer interest being shown in Sunderland academy player Mason Cotcher.

Sunderland academy player Mason Cotcher has made headlines on Wearside this weekend with interest from clubs further up the pecking order to the Black Cats.

Here, we take you through everything we know about the situation:

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Who is Mason Cotcher?

Cotcher is (as things stand) a Sunderland and England youth international who plays primarily up-front.

The 17-year-old had an excellent campaign last time out and was a regular goalscorer in the under-18 side that pushed Manchester City all the way in a remarkable title bid.

Cotcher pitched in with 10 goal contributions in 19 appearances last season in under-18 Premier League games for Sunderland but has yet to feature this campaign.

Cotcher was also brought into Tony Mowbray's squad for the FA Cup third-round win over Shrewsbury Town at the start of 2023.

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Is there transfer interest in Mason Cotcher?

Yes, there is. Eyebrows were raised among Sunderland fans after the youngster featured for Arsenal's under-18s this week, suggesting firm interest from the Premier League outfit.

Cotcher featured for Arsenal's youth side on Teesside against Middlesbrough last Saturday in the under-18s Premier League Cup competition.

The Echo also understands that Scottish giants Rangers and Arsenal's Premier League rivals Brighton and Hove Albion have also looked at the youngster ahead of a potential move.

It remains to be seen if Arsenal, Rangers or Brighton will advance their interest in Cotcher.

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Can Mason Cotcher leave Sunderland for nothing?

Given that Cotcher is still on a scholarship deal, it is possible that the youngster could secure a move away from Sunderland at any time.

Youngsters who have not yet signed professional terms are free to move between clubs with compensation tribunals taking place if clubs cannot agree on a financial package between them.

If Cotcher does indeed depart Sunderland, though, the club stand to benefit financially from his exit either way.

Have Sunderland tried to keep hold of Mason Cotcher?

Cotcher is now eligible to sign a professional contract and Sunderland had been keen to retain the player's services.

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Though Sunderland were open to Cotcher coming back into the fold had there been a change of heart, they became increasingly resigned to his departure as the striker weighed up his options elsewhere.

Are Sunderland managing to hold onto their brightest Academy of Light starlets?

The short answer is, buy and large, yes... with some nuance. Sunderland have managed to retain several highly-rated young stars amid interest from elsewhere - including 16-year-old Chris Rigg, who has committed to a scholarship deal.

Tom Watson, 17, has also signed a professional deal at the Stadium of Light amid suggestions he could move on during the summer window.

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However, Sunderland also saw young goalkeeper Toby Bell swap Wearside for Chelsea last summer.

Youngsters Matty Young, Ben Metcalf and Trey Ogunsuyi have all signed scholarship deals at Sunderland, though, despite serious interest from Premier League clubs.

Dan Parker also had interest from the top-flight in the form of Everton but has remained at the Academy of Light alongside his scholarship peers.

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