The Lowdown: Stewart’s story profiled
The Black Cats talisman was attracting interest from the likes of Glasgow Rangers and Middlesbrough, though any kind of deal failed to materialise before the deadline.
The 6 foot 2 forward’s one-year extension has since been triggered, meaning that he’ll stay put until at least 2024, but having been ruled out for the remainder of the campaign with an achilles injury, securing his long-term services is now the priority.
The Latest: Speakman’s comments
Speaking to the Sunderland Echo, Speakman revealed that the Wearside outfit are planning to open negotiations with Stewart over extending his stay at the Stadium of Light.
“Our ambition has always been to re-sign Ross and that remains the case.
“We’ve obviously got to be sensitive around the situation at the present time but I’m sure there will be a conversation in the near future about where we’re at with that.
“It was only natural that we put that on hold coming into the January window, because I don’t think those conversations are ever that productive during a transfer window.”
The Verdict: Fully deserved
Stewart is arguably Sunderland’s main attacking force, and looking at his numbers, rewarding him with a new long-term contract would be nothing less than he deserves.
The Irvine native has made a remarkable 13 goal contributions in the same number of second-tier outings this term, and he was averaging 3.5 shots per league game prior to his injury (WhoScored).
Tony Mowbray is also provided with the perfect aerial threat given the 26-year-old’s height, so it would be in everyone’s best interests to tie him down before the upcoming summer window.