Sunderland manager Gus Poyet is worried that Connor Wickham may leave on a free transfer once his current contract expires next summer.
The £8 million striker shows no sign of committing to a new deal on Wearside, and will be free to sign a pre-contract agreement with another club in January, for which the Black Cats would receive less than half a million pounds in compensation.
“Connor is still playing, there has been no ban,” Poyet said.
“I’ve not said if you don’t sign you don’t play. There hasn’t been different treatment, but he needs to make a decision that’s best for his career. If he wants to go somewhere else and play in Europe, fine, that’s his decision.
“My advice is to make the decision yourself. Of course listen to your parents, girlfriend, best friend, his agent. With all the information they give you, make the decision yourself.
“Sometimes people don’t want to agree. They want to play a certain way. They want to tell you we will take him to Europe so the club has to pay us less compensation.
“Fair enough, we know who we are dealing with. You know who you are dealing with for the rest of your life, not just one deal. It’s not a problem, everyone has a reputation.”
Wickham – who signed for Sunderland from Championship side Ipswich Town in 2011 – has made eight appearances in the Premier League so far this season, scoring one goal.
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