Former Newcastle United centre-back Steve Howey has said Charlie Wyke’s departure is a ‘blow’ to League One outfit Sunderland, in an interview with the Football Insider.
After scoring 26 goals for the Black Cats in the third tier last season, guiding them to fourth place before being knocked out in the play-offs by Lincoln City, Wyke was out of contract at the Stadium of Light this summer and was expected to join former Scottish Premiership champions Celtic after the parties engaged in advanced negotiations.
However, League One rivals Wigan Athletic came in with a seemingly better offer in the eleventh hour and the 28-year-old decided to link up with Leam Richardson’s side as they look to bounce straight back from administration.
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The Latics finished just one point above the relegation zone last season but have already secured eight signings in this window, with Wyke becoming their seventh on a free transfer.
In stark contrast, Sunderland have only made one senior signing under Lee Johnson during what has been a frustrating couple of months for the Black Cats, although Luke O’Nien has put pen to paper on a new three-year deal with the club.
Despite this good news, former Magpies defender Steve Howey believes they will sorely miss Wyke and the threat he provided up front for the Wearside club.
In an interview with the Football Insider on this subject, he said: “Well, it’s a blow, if somebody scores 30 goals a season, it’s going to be a blow. But the lad got his move from it.
“But Sunderland are in a situation where they can’t afford to be paying players sums of money that if you’ve had a good season, you’re going to get offered by other teams.”
There’s no doubt this will be a blow because Sunderland’s success last season was due to two main things: Wyke’s goals and Aiden McGeady’s assists.
They may have signed McGeady down to a new contract this summer – but they need to find a replacement or two that can come in and replace the void left by the 28-year-old.
The winger was outstanding last season – but he was only able to do as well as he did because of Wyke’s potency. Former AFC Wimbledon striker Joe Pigott was a known target for the Wearside outfit before his recent move to Ipswich Town – but after his move to Portman Road – they will need to focus on alternative targets.
Will Grigg and Ross Stewart are two existing options at the Stadium of Light for manager Johnson to utilise but when you lose a striker who contributed 26 goals last term, the duo might not be enough to work with.