Sunderland midfielder Lynden Gooch has been a first-team regular at the Stadium of Light for a number of years, but with no starts so far this term and his future up in the air, the American looks set to leave the North East of England. And, although there is likely Championship interest, the MLS could be an option too.
Gooch, 27, is a player with a wealth of EFL experience, having played a substantial amount of games at both Championship and League One level, so his apparent availability has immediately alerted several teams in England’s second tier, with his versatility a key selling point. But, after being born in Santa Cruz, California and coming through the Santa Cruz academy, links to the MLS naturally make sense. Gooch’s future has, therefore, become a significant talking point, with transfers and the best football betting odds often popular during the UK summer months.
While Gooch hasn’t been able to force his way into the Sunderland team so far this season, their fans suggest online that they’d be against him leaving. This will largely be because of the injury problems endured by the club, especially last season, where having versatile players such as Gooch, who can play in many positions, helped the Black Cats maintain their place in the Championship’s top six, somewhat against the odds. But then, on the other hand, he only has a year remaining on his contract.
The initial decision will likely come down to what Sunderland want to do. If they want to keep Gooch at the club because of his versatility and reliability, they could and may even press on with offering new terms. Or, there is always the option of them being happy for the four-time USA cap to stay, leaving for free at the end of the 2023/24 Championship campaign. Gooch has, after all, been with the Black Cats since 2012, working his way up from the U18s to the first team in four years. This would certainly give the player more freedom to choose when considering his next move, and the MLS would definitely be one of the options on the table then.
One club that has repeatedly been linked with a move for Gooch this summer is QPR, who are managed by Gareth Ainsworth. Like many other outfits, they’ve found it a struggle in the transfer market since the window opened, and again, it’s his versatility that is the main attraction, as well as his Championship experience. But there will always be that option to return home for Gooch, and he wouldn’t be the first player to head Stateside from England this summer.
Sam Surridge and Teemu Pukki are just two players who have headed to the MLS and now call the USA home. And with Inter Miami adding stars such as Jordi Alba, Sergio Busquets and Lionel Messi to their roster, America’s leading division could once again be becoming the place to be, and if a player already has links to the country, then moving back there makes sense.