Peterborough United Director of Football Barry Fry has lambasted League One side Sunderland in an interview with the Football Transfer Tavern, for failing to tie Charlie Wyke down to a new deal.
Wyke, 28, scored 26 goals for the Black Cats last season as they fell at the penultimate hurdle against Lincoln City in the play-off semi-final.
This failure to get promotion has cost Lee Johnson’s side dearly and they are now resigned to losing the man that led them to a fourth-place finish, with the forward currently in ‘advanced talks’ with former Scottish Premiership champions Celtic as per the Football Fancast.
Quiz: What was the score the last time Sunderland played each of these 25 teams?
His deal at the Stadium of Light runs out this summer and because of this, they are set to lose Wyke for nothing if he joins Ange Postecoglou’s side. Even if he doesn’t end up signing for the Glasgow-based club, the 28-year-old signing a new contract at anywhere but Sunderland will leave them penniless.
Peterborough’s Director of Football Barry Fry, who negotiated a beneficial deal for the Posh when Ivan Toney joined Brentford last year, is horrified at the prospect of the League One side losing such a huge asset for nothing.
Speaking to the Transfer Tavern on Wyke, Fry said: “I can’t believe that he’s a free agent because at Christmas time he was up there for top scorer so Sunderland should have got him in the office and tied him down to a new deal then.
“I just can’t understand it as Sunderland are a huge club potentially and we keep hearing about them having fantastic supporters but that’s bad business at the top.
“I can’t imagine Lee Johnson when he went in, said that he didn’t want a centre forward who would score 25-30 goals a season.”
Wyke came second in last season’s League One goalscoring chart behind Fry’s own player in Jonson Clarke-Harris. However, Peterborough are in a much different situation with their top scorer, with the side being promoted to the Championship and Clarke-Harris still having three years left on his current deal at London Road.
Although it’s gutting to lose a player like Wyke at League One level, the 28-year-old may have rejected a contract even back in Christmas time when he was in such good form and other sides likely to be interested in him even back then, with just months left to go on his current deal at that stage and days left now in the present time.
Many other clubs have been in a similar situation with their most treasured assets. Just look at Paul Mullin at Cambridge United as one of several examples – he’s a potential replacement for Wyke if they can beat other teams to his signature.
Covid-19 and financial worries, especially in the third and fourth tier, have also been a factor in the last 18 months so while you could agree it’s terrible to lose someone like the forward on a free agent, Barry Fry could say that about many sides and he would have every right to.
It’s now down to Sunderland to find a suitable replacement.