By Kevin Phillips

9th Aug, 2021 | 5:00pm

Phillips tells Sunderland to 'do the deal' after Josh Key update via BBC

Kevin Phillips has urged Sunderland to loosen the purse strings to get a deal done for Exeter City defender Josh Key.

Speaking exclusively to Football Insider, the Stadium of Light legend stressed the importance of Lee Johnson adding a specialist right-back to his ranks before the window shuts.

According to the Northern Echo (26th July), the Black Cats made a £1million bid for Key, 21, last month.

Speaking to the BBC on Thursday, Exeter boss Matt Taylor confirmed the club had rejected a bid for the right-back and suggested it was far away from their valuation of the player.

Key has two years remaining on his contract at St James Park.

When asked for his thoughts on the latest, Phillips told Football Insider‘s Dylan Childs: “It’s worth spending a little bit extra to get a deal over the line.

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“They need a specialist right-back to come into the squad so for that reason I’m sure Key would make the squad stronger.

“The finances are there so just go and get him, don’t mess around.

“It is a position that is spoken about every week and it shouldn’t still be being spoken about a week after the season has started.

“For me, without being held to ransom, just go and do the deal. He is clearly a player that Lee Johnson likes.

“You want players in as early as possible so they can get up to speed and hit the ground running.”

In other news, Sunderland tipped to sign striker ‘very soon’ after Jebbison update.