With Sunderland securing a spot in the League One play-offs it’s clear to see where the club’s focus is going to be placed in the coming weeks.
Securing promotion to the Championship would be the the culmination of three years of hard work and the perfect start to a new regime under Kyril-Louis Dreyfus as he looks to take the club back to where they belong.
But while the club’s on-field future is clearly the main priority for supporters, there’s also a keen eye being placed on the future of their star players.
Several first-teamers are facing uncertain futures with their contracts due to expire this summer, but none are attracting more interest than Charlie Wyke.
Fans can hardly be surprised that he’s turning some heads after finding the net on 30 occasions already this term – a tally that he’ll be hoping to add to in the coming weeks as Sunderland prepare to conquer the play-offs.
Several clubs are said to be keen on offering the player a platform to play in the Championship regardless of what happens in the play-offs, but one report could really give the 28-year-old food for thought.
Reports have claimed that Celtic are among the clubs interested in a move for Wyke – a link which would surely put them at the top of the list of such interest is genuine.
But while a move to Celtic would be hard to turn down, I’m not convinced that it would be the correct move for the player.
Competition for places is extremely tough at Celtic with the likes of Odsonne Edouard, Albian Ajeti and Leigh Griffiths all competing for a spot in the starting XI.
While a player like Wyke isn’t one to shy away from a challenge, it’s the future direction of the club that could be the biggest concern.
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Reports are heavily suggesting that Eddie Howe could be in line to be named as the new Celtic manager with a decision to be made at the end of the season.
The former Bournemouth boss has built a reputation as one of the best when it comes to building a free-flowing team that focus on pace, intensity and intricate play in attacking areas.
Charlie Wyke is not the player to fit into that system.
That isn’t intended as a knock to the Sunderland man – Wyke is one of the best in the EFL as being a focal point of a side who focus on a more direct style of play that put emphasis on balls into the box and providing a physical, aerial threat in the penalty area.
Lee Johnson has done a wonderful job of building his team around the 28-year-old and ensuring that Wyke is on the receiving end of the correct type of service needed to make him a consistent threat in front of goal.
As much as Celtic are a good team, I don’t think that Wyke would be afforded such a luxury at Celtic Park.
Wyke wouldn’t be a natural fit for the Scottish giants and that could lead him into the role of being an ‘impact player’ – a role which isn’t enough for a player of Wyke’s quality.
The striker is onto a good thing with Sunderland at the moment, and while I can’t guarantee that he won’t be tempted by external offers, I think that Wyke must think long and hard about a move away and whether it’ll be the best thing for him.
There’s no doubt that Wyke has played the best football of his career under Lee Johnson this term and he’d be foolish to take that lightly when considering where he will be playing his football next season.