A major development has emerged regarding Luke O’Nien’s future at Sunderland.
According to Football Insider, the Black Cats are confident that they will be able to pin him down to a contract extension before the end of the month. The 26-year-old’s current deal expires next week and Sunderland are closing in on an agreement with the defender to keep him at the Stadium of Light.
The report claims that O’Nien is willing to snub the chance to make the step up to the Championship in order to stay with Sunderland. Second-tier trio Luton, Middlesbrough and Preston are all interested in signing O’Nien this summer.
Back in 2019, former Sunderland boss Jack Ross heaped praise on the former Wycombe utility man as he told The Chronicle: “He ticked a lot of boxes and then even when we did one-v-one stuff in training, he is awkward to get past, he is physical, competitive, and he doesn’t like people going by him.
“He has been a revelation in that respect, and credit to him for how he has faced that challenge.”
Sunderland fans must be buzzing with this news as O’Nien staying at the club could be a huge boost to their chances of securing promotion next season.
He has proven his quality at League One level for the Black Cats and Lee Johnson will need as many top-class performers as possible in order to mount a push for the automatic promotion places in the 2021/22 campaign. This is why fans will surely be delighted that O’Nien is likely to be a Sunderland player next year.
He is a key player for Johnson in League One and Kristjaan Speakman could pull off a masterstroke by keeping him at the club this summer. His performances were impressive enough to land him a place in the League One Team of the Season, which shows that he was one of the best players in the division and emphasises the argument that Sunderland will be boosted by O’Nien remaining on Wearside.
The £4,000-per-week beast was able to provide superb displays in several different positions. O’Nien averaged a WhoScored rating of 6.95 across 40 appearances, with Johnson deploying him at centre-back, right wing-back, right-back and central midfield throughout the campaign.
This means that the manager can continue to rely on the 26-year-old’s versatility and quality at Sunderland instead of needing to source replacements for a number of roles. Had O’Nien rejected the Black Cats and opted to move to the Championship, they may have needed two or three signings to cover the roles he filled, which is why tying him down to a new deal would be a major boost for the club.