Sunderland have enjoyed a decent opening to their League One campaign under Jack Ross as they bid to return to the Championship at the very first attempt, but recent reports regarding one of their star players will give the manager genuine cause for concern.
Indeed, the Black Cats currently sit in 3rd place in League One, just 4 points shy of league leaders Portsmouth.
The stability which Ross has brought to the club has played a pivotal role in their success so far this season, but without the prolific Josh Maja there’s no doubt they would be lower down the table at this stage.
Sunderland’s academy product has established himself as a first-team regular this season and he has rewarded Ross for the faith he has shown in him by notching 9 goals from his first 12 appearances.
But the 19-year-old’s fine form has not arrived without its permutations, as Manchester City, Tottenham Hotspur and Southampton are all keeping tabs on his progress, according to the Daily Mirror.
Whilst interest from Premier League clubs is hardly surprising following Maja’s electric start to the season, it’s particularly concerning given his contract situation.
As things stand Maja will leave Sunderland in the summer of 2019 for a small compensation fee, but if Ross can convince him to sign a new deal then it would be a hugely important deal for the club.
Not only would Maja’s commitment to Sunderland boost their promotion dream, it would allow them to keep hold of an academy product who could command an extortionate price-tag in the future.
Naturally, Sunderland will want to keep Maja at the Stadium of Light at all costs, but the prospect of a Premier League switch carries a charm which is difficult to compete with.
Sunderland will be acutely aware of that fact, so it’s vitally important that they agree fresh terms over a new contract to ensure they receive a fair fee for his services if he eventually decides to join Tottenham, Man City, Southampton or any other Premier League outfit in the future.
In both footballing and financial terms, securing Maja’s future is a genuine game-changer for Sunderland.
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