Belfast Telegraph

Brighton to return for Paddy McNair as Sunderland midfielder targets Premier League football

Northern Ireland's Paddy McNair up against Costa Rica's Bryan Oviedo on Sunday evening.
Northern Ireland's Paddy McNair up against Costa Rica's Bryan Oviedo on Sunday evening.

By Gareth Hanna

If Sunderland are going to lose Paddy McNair this summer, they're going to make sure they get a good price.

The Weirside club, who have now suffered back-to-back relegations to drop into League One, have already rejected two offers from Premier League side Brighton as well as another bid from an unnamed London club for their Northern Irish midfielder.

But according to the Sunderland Echo, they will be given something else to think about this week. The report claims that Brighton will return with another offer, improved on the £3.5m they have bid so far.

New Sunderland owner Stewart Donald has said that his club won't be letting wantaway stars leave on the cheap.

"There are quite a lot of players who are on astronomical wages for League One, and some of them think that that means it will be very easy for them to disappear from Sunderland and go and earn that money somewhere else," he told BBC. "Well the club has paid money for those players, and it isn’t as simple as that.

"The football club can afford to keep these players. The reality is that if they don’t want to be here and we don’t want them, then we need to get a sensible compromise but that means everybody will need to be fair. Currently we have lots of offers for players but the offers are too low."

McNair enjoyed a starring role during Northern Ireland's draw with Panama last week and afterwards, international boss Michael O'Neill spoke of the 23-year-old's desire to get back to England's top tier.

"I hope his club situation sorts itself out. I know what he is capable of," said O'Neill after the international friendly. "His running power and quality is evident to see, and he is so determined to get back to the Premier League and hopefully he gets that chance.

"Paddy McNair is a Premier League player."

McNair came through the youth system at Manchester United but moved to the Stadium of Light in 2016. His 16/17 season ended in November with a nightmare knee ligament injury and his return to fitness is a huge boost to his national side, as he proved in Central America.

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