Following a highly impressive goalscoring campaign for Sunderland, there is reportedly a great deal of interest in Charlie Wyke this summer, although the Black Cats could already have a ready-made replacement for the 28-year-old.
So far this season, Wyke has undoubtedly been the star at the Stadium of Light, with the £270,000-rated forward bagging 25 goals and providing three assists over his 42 appearances in League One, as well as averaging a SofaScore match rating of 7.35 – ranking him as Lee Johnson’s best player in the third tier.
However, while the former Bradford City striker’s goals have fired Sunderland to the play-offs this season, form as good as Wyke’s is a double-edged sword for a club of Sunderland’s current standing, as his performances have attracted a number of Championship teams who have the intention of stealing the centre-forward from the Black Cats’ grasp this summer.
Although, while losing a player as important as Wyke will undoubtedly be a huge blow for Johnson, there may not be any need to panic, as the club could already own a striker who is capable of filling the boots of the 28-year-old next season.
Prior to making a £304,000 switch to Sunderland in the January transfer window, Ross Stewart had spent two and a half years at Ross County, with the forward scoring 11 goals and providing three assists over his 32 appearances in the club’s 2018/19 campaign, bagging 11 goals and registering three assists over 26 appearances throughout County’s 2019/20 campaign and netting six goals and providing two assists over his 24 fixtures before moving to Sunderland this season.
So, there is very much a goalscorer in Stewart, who, at just 24-years-old, still has a bit of development to complete in his career as a professional footballer, in addition to having to adjust to the pace of the English game.
But, despite having to play second fiddle to Wyke this term, the 6ft 4 striker has already shown what he is capable of in a Sunderland shirt as, over his 11 league appearances for the club – only two of which have come as starts – he has already found the back of the net twice, in addition to averaging an impressive SofaScore match rating of 6.95.
Indeed, Johnson appears very firmly of the belief that Stewart has a fantastic future ahead of him at the Stadium of Light, with the 39-year-old praising the striker’s mobility, technical ability and his “extremely good” physicality in recent comments, as well as claiming that you’d be looking at a player worth “£10 million” if he was the finished product, which he still has enough time to become.
As such, despite the fact it very much seems as if Wyke could be moving on to pastures new this summer, Stewart is ready and waiting in the wings to seize his moment as the Black Cats’ main man.