‘My only worry’ – Sunderland legend admits star player could leave Black Cats this summer
Speaking to Football Insider, Sunderland legend Kevin Phillips has said versatile star Luke O’Nien could leave if the Black Cats fail to win promotion this season.
O’Nien has become a key player for Sunderland since joining from Wycombe Wanderers back in the summer of 2018.
The versatile ace has gone on to notch up 135 appearances for the Black Cats. In that time, he has netted 11 goals and provided 13 assists, starring in a range of positions.
After mainly featuring in defensive midfield and at right-back, O’Nien has held down a spot at centre-back under Lee Johnson.
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However, there are question marks around his future at the Stadium of Light.
O’Nien is yet to pen a contract extension with the club with his deal expiring this summer. His contract situation leaves the door open to a summer departure, something the Black Cats will surely want to avoid.
Now, former Sunderland star Kevin Phillips has voiced his concern should they not win promotion to the Championship.
Speaking to Football Insider, Phillips has backed his former club to tie him down to a deal should they win promotion. However, he fears they could lose him if they fail in their play-off bid. He said:
“It would not cost the world to give him a new deal so it is a no brainer for me. I’m sure there will be an offer on the table. He loves the club.
“My only worry is if Sunderland don’t go up.
“He might feel like he needs to play at a higher level at his age. There will be all sorts of scenarios in the summer if they don’t go up. If they do go up, I think they will definitely tie O’Nien down.”
After Peterborough United secured promotion in dramatic circumstances on Saturday, Johnson’s side will have to go through the play-offs if they want to win promotion.
Sunderland, Portsmouth, Lincoln City and Blackpool occupy the play-off spots as it stands. The Imps and the Tangerines have two games left to play, while Pompey and the Black Cats play once.