Blackpool striker Jerry Yates has been named the player Sunderland would target to replace Ross Stewart, with contract talks reported to be at an ‘impasse’ with the Scotsman.
Sky Sports News reporter Keith Downey claims talks have stalled with Stewart over a new deal, and he ‘could’ leave Sunderland in January with Middlesbrough supposedly showing the ‘strongest’ interest.
Premier League duo Crystal Palace and Brentford are also said to be interested, as are Blackburn and Stoke, who are managed by former Sunderland boss Alex Neil.
Downey reports Ross Stewart wants to stay at Sunderland and is settled, but other clubs are prepared to offer ‘significantly’ higher wages.
Yates is an interesting link, with the Blackpool striker already scoring nine goals in 24 Championship games this season for the struggling Seasiders.
However, it also doesn’t feel like it fits right.
Yates is contracted to Blackpool until 2024 and they have an option on a further year, meaning he’s certainly not going to come cheap.
He is also 26-years-old, so it doesn’t really feel like it fits the Sunderland transfer model to sell a senior player only to replace him with someone of a similar age and value. All the talk coming out of Sunderland has been about them only being willing to spend money on younger players.
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Yates is also not a like-for-like player in terms pf physicality and style.
What can we learn from the latest Ross Stewart reports
In all honesty, this looks like the work of a frustrated agent who is probably stuck between a player who really wants to stay where he is and a club who are not offering what they want.
We know Sunderland are not going to contact Keith Downey and tell him contract negotiations are at an ‘impasse’ as they don’t come out well from it. The club are also very tight on releasing information these days.
So it has to have come from an agent who is hoping to create some media pressure on the club in negotiations.
That certainly doesn’t mean contract talks are not at an impasse. They almost certainly are. However, it’s almost certainly not as desperate from Sunderland’s point of view as the Downey report would probably suggest.
We will be being told what the agent wants to be out there, so it’s important we bear that in mind.