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Sunderland struck gold with academy graduate Josh Maja

Sunderland have been through a tough few years, and despite their numerous relegations, there were some shining lights amongst the dismal years.

Their drop down the divisions naturally led to financial implications, which likely forced them to avoid expensive transfers and instead look to the academy for talent.

Should Sunderland have kept Josh Maja?





Whilst he did not manage to half their slump, Josh Maja still impressed after breaking into the senior squad.

The Nigerian striker had been at the club since 2015, having previously been educated at the likes of Crystal Palace, Fulham and Manchester City.

He was a well-travelled youngster, and although he struggled during their Championship season where they were relegated, he started the League One season impressively.

Scoring four in his first four during the 2018/19 season, he would go on to bag 15 league goals in just 24 games.

The 23-year-old was quoted as possessing a “natural ability” – in the words of Jack Ross – that made him such a success during his short time at the Stadium of Light.

It therefore would make his contract dispute all the more frustrating, as he was due to leave on a free at the end of that season.

Desperate to leave but clearly feeling like he owed the club at least something, he opted to depart in January instead of seeing out the campaign.

Having come through the ranks and cost nothing, to sell him on for £3.5m marks sensational value for a club that was, at the time, languishing in League One.

He featured just 49 times in total for the Black Cats before moving on to Bordeaux, where he would once again face relegation with the Ligue 1 side due to financial issues.

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Despite his age, Maja seems to once again be showing his character in the lower division, as this season he already has seven goals and three assists in 11 outings.

During a period of abject misery for Sunderland, Maja stood as the sole glimmer of hope for fans on Wearside.

Blessed with pace, skill and the ability to finish, it was clear that whilst the club was in such disrepute, he would always be angling for a move away. Luckily, they still managed to make a handsome profit from the youngster.

Article title: Sunderland struck gold with academy graduate Josh Maja

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