Sunderland outline their stance over Elliot Embleton's future amid speculation linking him with permanent Blackpool move
Sunderland insist they will hand Elliot Embleton the chance to shine at the Stadium of Light next season after the midfielder helped Blackpool win promotion to the Championship.
The Black Cats made the bizarre decision to loan Embleton to Blackpool on the final day of the January transfer window.
At the time, Neil Critchley's men were 15th in League One and nine points adrift of the play-off spots.
But since then, the Seasiders embarked on an unbelievable run of form to finish the season in third, before overcoming Oxford United and Lincoln City in the play-offs.
Sunderland, meanwhile, were beaten semi-finalists against the Imps.
Embleton played an important role since making the move to Bloomfield Road, making 21 appearances and scoring two goals.
Sunderland's academy graduate started yesterday's 2-1 win against Lincoln at Wembley, claiming an assist for Kenny Dougall's first strike.
Reports emerged over the weekend that Blackpool are keen to bring Embleton to Bloomfield Road on a permanent basis, especially if they were to make it to the Championship.
Responding to that speculation, Sunderland's sporting director Kristjaan Speakman revealed Embleton will have an important role to play for the Black Cats in League One next season.
"The easiest thing with Elliot would have been to loan him to League Two, and we held out and we held out because we were desperate to get him with the right club and the right coaching staff,” Speakman explained during a recent appearance on the #SAFCUnfiltered Podcast.
“Neil and the guys at Blackpool have done excellent with him, given him that platform and he's gone and performed.
"He's demonstrated the ability to play at the level we need him to play at, so when he comes back here he can hopefully impact our team.”
Speaking back in April, Sunderland boss Lee Johnson had a similar message over Embleton, who has a year remaining on his contract.
"What we do know is it’s an easy decision in the summer with Elliot,” Johnson told the Sunderland Echo.
“He’ll come back and be in the squad.
"He’s come through our academy, we want to promote him and the reason for him going to Blackpool is for him to do what he’s done.
"We wanted him to be successful in a good side playing good football, helping to take points off other teams.
“He’s done that extremely well. We’re always examining the data side of his performance and we’ve been in touch regularly.
"When we looked at it in January, he might have ended up in a similar situation to Chris Maguire in the last couple of weeks where he's not in the 18, and that wouldn't be conducive to ours or his future moving forward into next season.
"He’s a great footballer who can play off both feet, both channels, and he perfectly suits their 4-2-2-2 system. He’s done exceptionally well.”
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