Scottish Premiership side Celtic have finally begun talks with Sunderland striker Charlie Wyke, according to the Football Transfer Tavern.
28-year-old Wyke’s contract is due to expire at the Stadium of Light and despite the Black Cats’ attempts to tie the forward down to a new deal, it looks as though Ange Postecoglou’s side are currently in pole position to land him.
After scoring 26 goals in League One last season, finishing only behind Peterborough United’s Jonson Clarke-Harris in the third tier goals chart, his current side knew it was going to be a challenge to keep hold of him.
Sunderland quiz: One question about every player in the Black Cats’ first-team – Can you score 100% on this?
Sunderland’s loss to Lincoln City in the playoffs last month means the Wearside club will spend yet another season battling in League One – and Wyke may now think this is the right time to jump ship after first joining the club in 2018 from Bradford City.
For a man who has spent the bulk of his career in the lower leagues at Carlisle United, the Bantams and the Black Cats, it would be a big jump for the 28-year-old to make but one he may regret not taking if he remains at the Stadium of Light.
Wyke has also reportedly been subject of interest from Championship sides Cardiff City, Nottingham Forest and Millwall, so the forward may have an alternative exit route if talks with the former Scottish Premiership champions fall through.
Even if the forward signs a new deal at Sunderland and replicates his goal scoring form from last season, there’s no guarantee the club will be promoted next season either, so this would be the ideal opportunity for Wyke to depart.
The fact concrete talks have now begun will come as a great relief to the forward, with Wyke the subject of much speculation in recent weeks. Pre-season is coming up faster than many people realise and the 28-year-old will want to settle in at his new club before then, especially if he moves up to Scotland.
If these talks are successful, this will be a great signing on a free for a player who was prolific in the third tier last season. People will question whether he can successfully move up to a club like Celtic, but Sunderland are also a big club and his experience at the Stadium of Light will come in handy when Celtic Park is at full capacity again.
If the move fails to materialise, a Championship move beckons for Wyke.