Former Sunderland player Kevin Phillips has backed star midfielder Luke O’Nien to sign a new contract with the club and fans should be delighted by this news.
Football Insider have claimed that Preston North End, Middlesbrough, Millwall and Luton Town are all tracking O’Nien’s situation closely and are prepared to pounce if he becomes available. He is out of contract at the end of the month and Sunderland have offered the midfielder a new deal to stay at the club.
Former Sunderland striker Phillips believes that “loyal” O’Nien will commit his future to the club this month and reject the chance to move to the Championship. The retired forward has claimed that O’Nien loves Sunderland and will stay if he is offered a reasonable contract. He told Football Insider:
“I think he will stay, to be honest, I think he loves Sunderland.
“He seems like a real loyal guy. As I know well, they’re very hard to find and if someone is coming in with a better offer and the chance of playing in the Championship then it’s hard to turn down, but it’s clear that he does like the club.”
“If they want to keep O’Nien they’re going to have to offer him a decent contract, but not to the point where they’re being held to ransom, so it’s getting that balancing act right.
“But I think if you offer him a good, decent contract, then he would stay.”
Sunderland fans should be delighted by this news for multiple reasons. For starters, it is great to hear that Phillips truly believes O’Nien loves Sunderland. As the former striker has explained, loyalty can be found few and far between in the modern game and it is heartwarming to read that O’Nien could show his love for the club by signing a contract extension this summer instead of leaving on a free transfer to move to a higher division.
Fans should love to see passion on and off the pitch. Who wants to see players solely motivated by money and greed? Players like O’Nien, who thrive on the emotion and love of the game, are lovely to watch and, hopefully, he will be able to showcase his passion in front of the supporters next season if he stays at Sunderland and fans are back inside the grounds.
O’Nien’s footballing ability is another reason the fans should be happy to read this news. Charlie Wyke and Aiden McGeady, who both contributed directly to 20 goals or more, were the only players in the Sunderland squad to average a higher WhoScored rating than O’Nien in League One.
The £4k-per-week ace thrived in multiple positions on the pitch, playing at right-back, in midfield and at centre-back throughout the campaign, averaging an impressive score of 6.95. This shows his importance to the Sunderland side and why keeping him at the club could be a huge boost and a positive for the fans to enjoy.
And in other news; Sunderland fans will be fuming at this update from the Black Cats…