Arsenal, Brighton and Rangers show interest in Sunderland man

Everything you need to know about Sunderland youth youngster Mason Cotcher’s transfer interest.

Mason Cotcher, a Sunderland academy youngster, has attracted interest from clubs further up the pecking order than the Black Cats.

Here, we take you through everything we know about the situation:

Who is Mason Cotcher?

Cotcher is a Sunderland and England youth international who typically plays up front.
The 17-year-old had a terrific season last season, scoring regularly for the under-18 side that pushed Manchester City all the way to the title.

Cotcher scored 10 goals in 19 appearances for Sunderland’s under-18 Premier League team last season but is yet to appear this season.

Cotcher was also named to Tony Mowbray’s side for the FA Cup third-round victory over Shrewsbury Town in early 2023.

Is there transfer interest in Mason Cotcher?

There is, indeed. Sunderland fans raised their eyebrows as the youngster appeared for Arsenal’s under-18s this week, indicating strong interest from the Premier League club.

Cotcher played for Arsenal’s under-18s Premier League Cup team against Middlesbrough on Teesside on Saturday.

The Echo understands that Rangers in Scotland and Arsenal’s Premier League rivals Brighton and Hove Albion have both scouted the kid ahead of a possible deal.

It remains to be seen whether Arsenal, Rangers, or Brighton will pursue Cotcher further.


Former Sunderland youngster Mason Cotcher starts for Arsenal U18s as  trialist against Middlesbrough | Jeorge Bird's Arsenal Youth

Can Mason Cotcher leave Sunderland for nothing?

Given that Cotcher is still on a scholarship, it is feasible that the youngster will leave Sunderland at any time.

Youngsters who have not yet signed professional deals are free to move between clubs, with compensation tribunals held if clubs are unable to reach an agreement on a financial package.

However, if Cotcher does leave Sunderland, the club will benefit financially in either case.

Have Sunderland tried to keep hold of Mason Cotcher?

Cotcher is now eligible to sign a professional contract, and Sunderland were desperate to keep him.
According to The Echo’s top Sunderland reporter, Phil Smith, the Back Cats made a bid at the start of the summer but could not agree on terms.

Though Sunderland were open to Cotcher returning if he changed his mind, they became increasingly resigned  to his departure as the striker weighed up his options elsewhere.

Are Sunderland managing to hold onto their brightest Academy of Light starlets?

The quick answer is yes, buy and huge… with some caveats. Sunderland have managed to keep several highly-rated young players despite competition from other clubs, including 16-year-old Chris Rigg, who has agreed to a scholarship deal.

Tom Watson, 17, has also signed a professional contract at the Stadium of Light, despite reports that he could leave during the summer transfer window.

Sunderland did, however, lose talented goalkeeper Toby Bell to Chelsea last summer.

Despite strong interest from Premier League teams, Sunderland youngsters Matty Young, Ben Metcalf, and Tre Ogunsuyi have all signed scholarship deals.

Everton were also interested in Dan Parker, but he chose to remain at the Academy of Light with his scholarship peers.

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