Sunderland are unlikely to sign Marcus Maddison in January, with Peterborough director of football Barry Fry saying they won't lower their asking price.
Maddison is said to be desperate to play for Sunderland - the club he supported as a boy - but the Black Cats won't be meeting Posh's asking price in January.
Maddison's contracted release clause is believed to be £2.6m, a price Chronicle Live understands Sunderland are unwilling to pay, with the attacking midfielder having just six months remaining on his current deal. We understand the club plan to monitor Maddison's situation closely when the transfer window opens, in case Peterborough do soften their stance.
After an impressive campaign so far, the 26-year-old has nine goals and six assists, and reports suggest three Championship clubs are interested.
But, talking to Peterborough Today about their January plans, Fry says not even £2m would be enough.
“We haven’t set a fee for Ivan [Toney] because we have no interest in selling him," Fry said. "If he did go it would set a record fee for the club which incidentally is £8 million for Assomablonga and then £7.5 million for Gayle when you include the add ons.
“But our board love Ivan and he isn’t going anywhere. We might have a problem with Ivan if he gets a whiff of a million pounds a year contract, but he’s a good lad with his feet on the ground and he knows that sort of offer isn’t likely.
“Marcus is different as if a club meets his transfer clause we can’t stop him leaving, but we will reject any other bid, even one as big as £2 million.
“The main intention for January is to sign players. We want midfielders and a back-up striker in my opinion, but we might have to sell fringe players first to stay inside financial fair play regulations and interest in the likes of Alex Woodyard and Aaron Chapman has been minimal."
Sunderland are unwilling to meet the valuation of Maddison, but are likely to enter the race to sign him at the end of the season, should he stay put and leave Peterborough on a free.
Of course, the concern is that with Championship teams reportedly interested, one might either meet the release clause in January, or just also offer him a contract next summer and trump Sunderland to his signature.
It's a risk Sunderland are willing to take to ensure they don't run the club in an unsustainable manner and pay over the odds on players.
Speaking to the Athletic recently about a potential future move to Sunderland, Maddison said: "You never know in football.
“It was nice to score against the team who didn’t want me.
“I don’t know where my career will take me. Hopefully, I can go far with Peterborough but, in the future, you never know. If something comes up, then who knows.”