This article is part of Football League World’s ‘The Verdict’ series, which provides personal opinions from the FLW writers regarding the latest breaking news, teams, players, managers, potential signings and more…
Sunderland forward Charlie Wyke is set to reject a new contract with the Black Cats, according to a report from The Northern Echo.
Wyke had been in hugely impressive form for the League One side last season, as he scored 30 goals in 53 appearances, as they narrowly missed out on promotion into the Championship.
They were beaten by Lincoln City in their play-off semi-final, which condemned them to another season in the third tier of English football.
Wyke is out of contract at the end of the month, and is now reportedly set to turn down a new deal with the Black Cats, with it remaining unclear as to whether he’ll end up at the start of the new league campaign.
Scottish giants Celtic are believed to be increasingly confident in striking a deal to land his signature, with it seeming as though he’ll be heading to Celtic Park in the near future.
We ask our Football League World writers what they make of his recent update on his future, and how big of a blow it would be for Lee Johnson’s side ahead of the new season.
I don’t think it’s a surprise to be honest, but whether it’s the right call or not, I’m not sure.
Wyke has had a superb season in front of goal, scoring 31 goals and really driving the Black Cats towards another play-off campaign in League One.
Lee Johnson is clearly getting the best out of him, and Sunderland obviously feel that by offering him a new deal, they can build a team around him.
But with Sunderland staying in League One for yet another year and higher-profile teams circling, it doesn’t surprise me that he wants to move on. He is 28 and probably won’t get this chance again.
But Wyke’s form before this season was rather patchy. He was struggling for goals on a consistent basis, and I don’t think the grass is always greener.
Losing a 30-goal striker for nothing is obviously a blow but it’s not as big of one as it might seem on the surface.
You can’t argue with his goal return from last season but those stats flatter Wyke a bit and I do think that he is quite easily replaced.
In Ross Stewart, the Black Cats have got a striker ready to step up and one with a higher ceiling than their current number nine, in my opinion.
I wouldn’t be surprised if Wyke’s move to Celtic proved a disappointing one because I think his stock is higher than it should be based upon last season.
That’s not to say he’s not a good striker but I don’t think this is the blow for Sunderland that it might seem on the surface.
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It’s a massive blow, there’s no other way of looking at it.
Sunderland are losing a player who has guaranteed them goals in the past year, and his return of 26 in the previous season was outstanding. And, even though the Black Cats will be expecting to push for promotion again, you don’t find strikers who can score that number of goals easily. As well as that, Wyke offers more to the team with his ability to hold the ball up and his physicality. So, it’s a major setback.
However, no one player is ever going to be irreplaceable, particularly in the third tier. So, whether Johnson needs to tweak the way the team plays or simply go and find a top quality replacement, Sunderland must react.
But, his inevitable exit doesn’t help and it increases the pressure on the manager and the recruitment team going into the summer.