Sunderland head coach Lee Johnson has revealed that he is not involved in contract negotiations as some players contract hit the three-month mark before expiry – notably Charlie Wyke.
There are a number of first-team players that have their deals running out soon though, and June 30 will see them depart if fresh terms cannot be agreed.
Aiden McGeady, Luke O’Nien, Chris Maguire and Denver Hume are just some on that list, but the star of this season – Wyke – is also on that list.
Wyke penned a three-year deal in the summer of 2018 after a prolific season for Bradford City, but up until Johnson’s arrival in December last year you’d have thought the striker would be heading for the exit door this summer with no new deal to be put on the table.
His first two seasons on Wearside garnered just nine league goals, but five goals in the first 13 games of the current campaign showed that perhaps there was life still in Wyke’s career at the Stadium of Light.
And he’s blown everyone away since Johnson took charge, and more specifically since Aiden McGeady’s re-introduction to the squad, having been banished by previous manager Phil Parkinson.
Since Johnson’s arrival, Wyke’s league record stands at 17 goals in 20 matches, and it’s a shock to most people that a new contract hasn’t been placed in-front of Wyke yet.
With Sunderland fans desperate to know where Wyke’s future lies, Johnson unfortunately couldn’t provide any clarity, but he did reveal that he’s taken a back seat to negotiations since being appointed at the club.
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“To be honest my role is to win games and try and coach the boys to the best of my ability,” Johnson told Keith Downie of Sky Sports, per Roker Report.
“Of course, you’re involved in the big picture discussions but in terms of day-to-day detail and dealing with the agents, I’ve been slightly more removed at this club than I have been at other clubs.
“I think for all the players in mind, this is their vehicle at the moment.
This is an opportunity for them A) to get success B) To earn a new contact at a fantastic club and C) If there’s no contract here then to go and maximise their opportunities elsewhere.
“I think the boys understand that, that there is new ownership and a pandemic to come out the back of but we are one of the clubs driving forward and there’s not that many at the moment.
“So you have to hope actually the boys are fighting to stay as well because they know if we were to get promoted then the first place you look is at home and the ones that have done extremely well to get you there.”
Black Cats fans will be disappointed that there’s no actual update on Wyke’s future, and they may have to wait until the end of the season for anything to be finalised.
Sunderland are getting on with tying down some of the younger players such as Jack Diamond, but deals for senior players such as Wyke, McGeady and the likes will be a bit more complicated due to not knowing which division the club will be in next season.
Patience will be required for renewals as Johnson focuses on getting results rather than giving players extensions.