According to the man himself, Josh Maja didn’t want to leave Sunderland.
However, after half a season where he scored 15 goals in League One, he was packing his bags for French football.
Arriving in Bordeaux, the forward had left the Stadium of Light in rather controversial circumstances. Not given the right terms he wanted to extend his deal, the youngster decided to leave before his contract expired in the north-east.
There would have been clear worries about the future of Sunderland’s attack once he left. After all, only Aiden McGeady hit double figures (14) for goals in 2018/19.
However, the Irishman is no more a Black Cats player, at least temporarily. Now playing for Charlton on loan after being alienated by Phil Parkinson, it’s Chris Maguire who has taken it upon himself to become the Mackems’ main man.
Finding a replacement for Maja was always going to be hard. Symbolic of his rare talents on Wearside, the 21-year-old has found the back of the net five times in Ligue 1 this term.
The man who is making up for his goals isn’t quite as good, neither is he an exciting rising talent. However, Maguire gets the job done in a professional energetic manner.
The winger might not be a natural striker but there is clear evidence to suggest he’s stepped up when it matters. A centre-forward by trade, Maja was the go-to man in attack but now trust has been placed in Maguire.
The Black Cats longed for an attacking force once Maja walked through the exit door. Initially, it could have been £4m Will Grigg. Indeed, it should have been.
However, the true replacement for his goals ended up being Maguire.