Former Sunderland striker Kevin Phillips has urged the club to tie Tom Flanagan down to a new deal in a bid to stop him from leaving come the end of June.
The Black Cats will look to make a number of changes this summer after missing out on promotion to the Championship for a second successive season and the pressure will firmly be on manager Phil Parkinson to turn things around.
Parkinson’s first port of call ahead of the summer transfer window has been to address a number of expiring player contracts, including that of Flanagan, who is currently sitting on a fresh contract offer from the Wearside club.
With the defender’s future in doubt at the Stadium of Light, Birmingham City, Wigan Athletic and newly promoted Championship side Coventry City have all been credited with interest over the last few days.
Phillips, who is largely vocal about his former club, has now urged the club to get a new contract agreed with the player, telling Football Insider: “In that current squad, he would be a big loss.
“I am not surprised there is a few other clubs sniffing around because he did well last season.
“To lose anyone that has been a part an integral part of the squad over the past two years is always going to hurt you.
“If they get rid of him I am unsure whether they can get someone in to fill his boots straight away. It will be very difficult given the shop windows they will be shopping in.
“It would be a blow so I would like them to get the lad on a new contract. That would be great.
“If he goes to a Coventry it would be a big loss for Sunderland.”
Flanagan is a must signing for Sunderland and Phillips is correct. Quite why the club have allowed so many first team players have their contracts come to an end is anyone’s guess and it simply cannot continue moving forward.
The defender is an experienced head in League One with 107 appearances to his name, having turned out for the likes of MK Dons and Burton Albion prior to his move to the Stadium of Light. He has also played over 50 games in the Championship and at 28 he is arguably at his peak and keeping him would surely add some stability to their defensive unit.
Parkinson must ensure that he brings in players and ties them down to long-term deals.
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