Former Sunderland striker Kevin Phillips has criticised Josh Maja for the way he left the Black Cats, following his move from Bordeaux to Fulham on the final day of the winter transfer window.
Having joined Sunderland as a 16-year-old in 2015, Maja made his debut for the club the following year, and scored 17 goals in 49 appearances in all competitions for the club before moving to Bordeaux in January 2019.
The striker went on to score 11 goals in 48 appearances for the French club, and has now joined Fulham on loan for the remainder of the season, as he looks to help them get out out of trouble in the Premier League relegation zone.
However, it seems Phillips remains unimpressed by the way Maja left Sunderland two years ago, a decision .
Speaking to Football Insider about the striker’s departure from Sunderland, and his prospects during his time at Fulham, the ex-England international said: “Only time will tell. It’s tough that he’s coming into a side that’s struggling in the Premier League.
“But they play some good football and they do create opportunities. it’s just about rediscovering the form he showed at Sunderland.
“He got advised badly and left for the money. He probably should have stayed at Sunderland, helped them to promotion and things would have happened over here for him.”
Indeed, it appears Phillips does not expect Maja to be as successful at Fulham as he was at Sunderland, with the Blacks Cats legend adding: “But he’s been given a chance and only time will tell. I’m a little bit reserved in terms of saying ‘Yes, he will be successful.’
“I think it will be difficult because he hasn’t played a lot of football recently and he’s coming up against quality Premier League defenders.
“It’s a chance for him to shine but I’d be very surprised if gets a little run in the side and bangs in a load of goals early doors.”
These are some interesting comments from Phillips with regards to Maja’s exit from Sunderland.
Given the impact he was making at Sunderland in League One prior to his departure, you can understand why those associated with the club would have been disappointed to see him leave.
However, considering Bordeaux are playing at top-flight level, and do have the potential to compete for a place in Europe, this could have been a big opportunity for Maja from a footballing perspective, so it might be somewhat harsh to suggest this was simply financially motivated.
Even so, things have not gone quite as planned for Maja in France, and you would imagine it will be difficult for him to make an impact at Premier League level with Fulham, particularly given the pressure they are under in the relegation.