The Lowdown: Still injured
Stewart is unfortunately still out injured for the Stadium of Light outfit, and has not played for them since August after an impressive run of five goals and three assists in his opening seven Championship games (Transfermarkt).
His contract runs out in the summer, meaning that he can leave as a free agent, or for a cut-price deal to another club in January.
The Latest: Middlesbrough interest
Taking to Twitter, journalist Scott Wilson has revealed that Middlesbrough are ‘set to push hard’ to sign Stewart in January, alongside Dan Barlaser from Rotherham United:
“#Boro very much in the frame to sign midfielder Dan Barlaser from Rotherham next month – and set to push hard in an attempt to land Ross Stewart from #SAFC too…”
Expanding in his article for The Northern Echo, Wilson adds that Boro are ‘lining up a January approach’ for Stewart, but Tony Mowbray’s side will be ‘fighting tooth and nail’ to keep him.
The Black Cats have the option to extend his deal by another year, but talks are ‘ongoing’ over its structure.
The Verdict: Keep!
Sunderland simply cannot afford to let Stewart to go in January, especially to one of their biggest rivals in the Championship.
Lauded as ‘unbelievable‘ by Black Cats journalist James Copley, the striker played a huge part in their promotion from League One last term, scoring a mammoth 26 goals and supplying a further five assists, including two strikes in the play-offs (Transfermarkt).
His impressive start to this season shows how key of a player he still is to the team, and if the Wearsiders have any ambition of back-to-back promotions, then they must keep the 26-year-old at all costs.