Sunderland midfielder Josh Hawkes is attracting interest ahead of the summer transfer window.
That’s according to a report by the Sheffield Echo, who claimed that Ipswich Town, along with a number of Premier League clubs – including West Ham United, Crystal Palace and Newcastle United – are interested in a move for the 22-year-old attacking midfielder in the upcoming transfer market.
The East Anglian Daily Times reported that the £510-per-week man, who has one year left to run on his contract at The Stadium of Light, is understood to be keen to leave the Black Cats this summer as a result of his lack of first team football under Lee Johnson.
Having shown a great deal of potential for the club’s under-23 side this season, should Sunderland go on to lose the services of Hawkes this summer due to Johnson’s apparent reluctance to give the youngster first-team minutes, the argument could easily be made that it would be something of a catastrophe for the 44-year-old.
Over his 20 Premier League 2 fixtures for the Sunderland under-23s this term, Hawkes scored 13 goals – the joint-most in the competition – and registered six assists, with the 22-year-old’s goals often being game-changing. He also fired the youth team to the play-offs, in which Sunderland narrowly lost on penalties in the final against Crystal Palace.
Indeed, on numerous occasions throughout the course of the season, many Sunderland fans appeared eager for Johnson to include the youngster in his matchday squad, with one claiming that Hawkes had “needed to be in the first team for weeks,” while another stated that he “surely has to be in the first team” as the midfielder was “banging them in every week.”
However, despite this, Hawkes made just one appearance for the Black Cats this season, in the 2-1 loss to Fleetwood Town in the Papa John’s Trophy.
As such, if the man Jeff Stelling dubbed a “free spirit” does wish to leave Sunderland this summer in search of regular first team football, it appears as if Johnson will have nobody to blame other than himself.