Sunderland are set for an interesting few weeks, with just over a month until the new League One season gets underway.
The Black Cats have been somewhat of a ‘sleeping giant’ in the third tier of English football for far too long now, and the Stadium of Light faithful will be eager to see their side make a timely return to the Championship under the management of Lee Johnson.
They narrowly missed out on promotion into the second tier last season, after being beaten by Lincoln City in their play-off semi-final, which condemned them to yet another season in League One, much to the frustration of the club’s supporters.
Not only does it condemn them to another year in the third tier, but more alarmingly, the club face a nervous wait to see whether key players will remain at the Stadium of Light moving forwards.
One player that looks as though he’s set for the exit door is Charlie Wyke, with the 28-year-old’s contract with the club expiring in June.
Wyke caught the eye with a number of strong performances in front of goal, with the former Bradford City forward scoring 30 goals in 53 appearances for Sunderland, as he spearheaded their push for promotion into the Championship, although his best efforts weren’t quite enough.
Wyke has been attracting interest from Scottish giants Celtic in recent months, whilst Nottingham Forest, Cardiff City, Middlesbrough and Millwall have also been credited with interest in landing his signature this summer.
Therefore, the 28-year-old has a tough decision on his future to make, and he’ll be hoping that he can build on a hugely impressive league campaign from the 2020/21 season.
Speaking in a recent interview (quotes sourced from the Northern Echo), Sunderland boss Johnson has recently revealed that he doesn’t expect Wyke to return to the club ahead of the 2021/22 season.
“Charlie, I would say the door is ajar, but we’re certainly not expecting him to come back.
“I’d say that it would be him coming back to us and saying he wants to talk again, effectively. My gut says that he will move on, I’d say 95% that he’ll move on.
“But we would leave the door ajar because, at the moment, you never know.”
Sunderland’s supporters have had every right to feel frustrated for their team’s slip-ups in recent seasons, and for the club to progress, they simply have to win promotion back into the Championship this coming campaign.
If they don’t achieve that, then even more key players will be linked with departures from the club, which could see them struggling for any sort of momentum moving forwards.
With Wyke’s future looking as though it’s elsewhere, which is a massive blow to them given how he was the team’s main source of goals, it’s vital that Sunderland find a good-enough alternative to replace the forward, who is certain to leave a sizeable void in their team.
As it stands, the club are heading into a season without a forward who they know can score goals, which is hugely frustrating for the fans. This simply must be addressed.
And in other news, Sunderland are keen on signing released Premier League gem