An update has emerged on Wigan’s pursuit of Sunderland defender Bailey Wright…
What’s the talk?
According to The Sun’s Alan Nixon, the Lancashire club may not be able to afford a deal for the 29-year-old due to his fee and contract length demands.
This comes after it was reported earlier in the window that the Latics have been pursuing a deal for the Australia international.
Should Sunderland sell Wright?
Relief for Johnson
This news will come as a relief to Sunderland manager Lee Johnson as it seems to rule out any move to the DW Stadium for Wright. If Wigan are struggling to afford a fee for his services and to match his contract demands, then it could be incredibly difficult for this prospective deal to inch any closer to getting over the line, therefore increasing the chances of him staying with Sunderland for the 2021/22 campaign.
Wright missed out on a start against the Latics on the opening day of the League One campaign last weekend, but this was after making a late return to pre-season following an injury. The centre-back proved last season that he has the quality to be an excellent option in the third tier, which is why Johnson will be delighted that he now appears set to remain at the Stadium of Light.
In the 2020/21 campaign, the Australian averaged a sublime WhoScored rating of 6.94 across 35 starts. He won 4.3 aerial battles and made 4.6 clearances per game, highlighting his high volume of defensive activity in matches to help Sunderland keep clean sheets and win games.
His form prompted Black Cats legend Kevin Phillips to hail him as a leader and compare him with Liverpool star Virgil van Dijk. The 48-year-old told Football Insider: “He’s been a great signing. I don’t know the player, but I just get the feeling that he’s a leader and a voice in the dressing room.
“Sometimes the manager can only say so much and then you want of your senior experience players to pipe up and put a few people in their place and give encouragement and be a leader. He seems like that.
“The stats just show what an important player he is. He’s almost to Sunderland what van Dijk is to Liverpool at the moment with those incredible stats.”
Therefore, the £13k-per-week beast could still have a huge role to play this season despite not starting on the opening day. His quality and experience could be needed as the campaign progresses, whether that be down to injury or loss of form to those ahead of him at the moment, and Johnson will want as many options as possible to help with the Black Cats’ promotion push. This is why he must be buzzing that the Australian enforcer is probably not on his way to Wigan.