Sunderland manager Lee Johnson has suggested that he remains hopeful the club can convince forward Charlie Wyke to remain at the Stadium of Light next season.
Wyke has enjoyed an excellent season in League One with the Black Cats and he has managed to fire in an impressive tally of 25 goals in his 42 league appearances so far this term. That has seen him deservedly earn a place in the division’s Team of the Season and he could yet be key to helping Johnson’s side earn promotion to the Championship.
The forward is set to see his current deal with the Black Cats expire at the end of the campaign. That has seen him start to attract the attentions of various clubs in the Championship. The likes of Middlesbrough, Nottingham Forest, Cardiff City and Millwall have all been linked with a potential move for the forward in the summer transfer window.
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Speaking to the Sunderland Echo, Johnson revealed that he is hopeful that the Black Cats can indeed keep hold of Wyke in the summer. While he also suggested that he is wanting to continue to work with the forward and develop their relationship.
He said: “The contracts is more one for Kristjaan Speakman.
“As far I’m concerned you’re maintaining the player-coach relationship. That’s the key.
“Of course I’d love to work with Charlie Wyke next season, but whether that’s possible or not I haven’t got all the answers for you.
“At the same time, what Charlie has got is a coach who trusts and believes in him, and with the coaching staff and his team-mates, have got him into a position where he’s currently second top scorer with lots of different types of goals.”
Sunderland will surely be desperate to try and keep hold of Wyke this summer and they will be needing to do all they can to support Johnson and give him the ability to persuade the forward to remain at the Stadium of Light. It is no surprise to have seen his form in League One attract the attentions of various clubs in the Championship.
The Black Cats might well need to earn promotion themselves to have any chance of convincing him to stay with them beyond the end of the campaign. Wyke will likely feel he has done enough now to suggest he could be playing at a higher level than League One and he will be keen to test himself at a higher level to see if he can replicate his form there.
Johnson does have a strong relationship with him it seems and that could potentially put the Black Cats in a strong position in terms of trying to keep hold of him. Although it is going to be a real challenge to do so, and it is something the club’s hierarchy are going to have to show ambition to make happen.