By Kevin Phillips

10th Jan, 2022 | 5:00pm

Phillips tips Sunderland to offload O'Brien after source update on 'big' signing

The arrival of Patrick Roberts could spell the end of Aiden O’Brien’s time at Sunderland.

That is the view of Black Cats icon Kevin Phillips, speaking exclusively to Football Insider about potential comings and goings this January.

A Sunderland source told this site last Thursday (6 December) that they are on the cusp of signing 24-year-old left winger Roberts on loan from Man City.

The League One outfit have agreed terms and are waiting for his loan deal at Ligue 1 side Troyes to be terminated before they finalise the move.

O’Brien, who also plays left wing and is out of contract at the end of June, has started just seven league matches for Lee Johnson’s side this season.

Phillips suggests that the arrival of another player in his position could mean curtains for the Irishman’s time at the Stadium of Light.

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“It hasn’t really worked out,” he told Football Insider‘s Dylan Childs.

“It’s a surprise because I thought he’d do really, really well when he signed. Maybe it’s a bit like the Will Grigg situation.

“Patrick Roberts has a big-game mentality. He’s played some big games at a great level. I’ve no issues with him coming in and doing well.

“But reading between the lines, that would suggest that O’Brien could leave in this window if the deal is right for the club and the player.

“So watch this space with him in the next month.”

O’Brien, 28, signed for Sunderland under previous manager Phil Parkinson.

Roberts meanwhile has failed to make an impression in France, making just two appearances.

In other news, Phillips issues “big” Sunderland claim after Kristjaan Speakman reveal.