West Ham are reportedly interested in signing Sunderland’s top scorer Josh Maja on a permanent deal before sending him back to Wearside on an 18-month loan, as reported by The Sunderland Echo.
The 20-year-old has been in exquisite form for the Black Cats so far this season, scoring 15 goals in 23 League One starts and 16 in all competitions – as per Transfermarkt – for Jack Ross’ side, who are hopeful of an immediate return to the Championship following their relegation last term.
Maja’s rejection of a new contract offer at the Stadium of Light has left them in a perilous position though, seeing as the youngster’s current deal is set to expire in the summer.
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Sunderland must now sell Maja this month to attain a significant sum for their prize asset, or risk losing him for a mere compensation fee at the end of the season.
In a year or two, yes. Maja is a powerful striker with a fantastic eye for goal, but he would perhaps struggle to make the jump from League One to the Premier League immediately. Hammers boss Manuel Pellegrini currently has Marko Arnautovic, Javier Hernandez, Andy Carroll and Lucas Perez at his disposal, so the youngster would struggle to continue his development in east London through regular game-time.
The aforementioned deal, which would see Maja sign for the club and then return to Sunderland for 18 months, seems an ideal move for all parties, especially for the reported £3m fee being touted by The Sunderland Echo.
West Ham would secure Maja’s services in the long run at little cost but keep him at a level where he is clearly thriving and learning by the game, while Sunderland wouldn’t lose a key figure in their promotion push mid-season.