Sunderland transfer chief reveals update on talks with Middlesbrough target

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Sunderland’s sporting director Kristjaan Speakman has provided an update on the contract status of Middlesbrough ‘target’ Ross Stewart.

Stewart’s current deal expires this summer but Sunderland hold an option to extend it by an extra year until the summer of 2024. Despite this, though, the club’s hierarchy have been in talks with Stewart’s representatives for some time.

However, recent reports have claimed that nothing is close, Middlesbrough are among the clubs credited with an interest in him.

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However, speaking at the latest supporter collective meeting, Sunderland’s sporting director Speakman provided this update to fans.

Sunderland striker Ross Stewart.Sunderland striker Ross Stewart.
Sunderland striker Ross Stewart.

“The fact that Sunderland hasn’t bought, developed and sold players in recent history has meant that this topic of player trading is sensitive. I completely understand this as supporters buy season cards and tickets to see these players,” Speakman said.

Supporters need to understand that the player trading model is two-way. Fans always ask who is coming in, but don’t think about who we are letting go. We have some small successes with revenue brought in for Benji Kimpioka and Denver Hume.

“With our most high-profile players, we want to maintain and retain the players that are having a positive impact both on and off the pitch for Sunderland. Naturally Ross Stewart fits this profile, but Ross does have a significant period of time left on his contract.

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“Unfortunately, it becomes a polarising discussion where it is either the Club don’t want to pay the money and fans start demanding that money is spent. This is a nonsensical start point and no business would operate under that model. Or the other end of the spectrum is a player is holding the Club to ransom.

“Neither of these are true with Ross. The Club wants to retain the player and the player wants to stay – and is naturally doing well at this time. Ross needs to make the best decision for his livelihood. It doesn’t mean he doesn’t want to stay and this is the basis of a typical negotiation which can sometimes take up to 18 months at a time.

“This isn’t an unusual situation that anyone should be getting worried about, but I do appreciate the supporters are keen we tie Ross Stewart onto a longer-term contract. These feelings are replicated internally.”