Dear Roker Report,
As the dust settled on Sunderland’s League One status and Stewart Donald et al came along, fans started to feel more positive. Build a team around youth rather than bring in old cast offs from other clubs. Eyes turned to Josh Maja, who had impressed fans and managers alike when given his chance.
Fans are realising that we are on the verge of losing one of our brightest, youngest stars within this transfer window. It’s frustrating, but it’s worth taking a step back, and appreciating what we have, where we are and what we could get.
When Maja made his League debut in December 2017, he burst onto the pitch, exchanging places with the hapless James Vaughan and scored within 5 minutes of coming on. This was his only goal in the disastrous Championship season, but his impact gave fans something to think about.
He made 17 appearances in the Championship as he wasn’t able to force his way in ahead of Lewis Grabban and Mr Saturday Night - Aiden McGeady.
There’s been a lot of debate as to whether his agent has swayed him one way or the other. It’s their job to get the best for their client - and in doing so probably get the best for them too. Nature of the beast I’m afraid.
As a fan on Twitter pondered - “His agent has done this. He will sit in the reserves and get paid more - then his agent will push for another transfer in 12-18 months for another payday. Easy money for them”.
Some may say that’s slightly cynical, but it wouldn’t be the first time it has happened, and it won’t be the last. If wherever he goes he ends up on the bench not getting first team football and ends up having to transfer again to get games, then that’ll be his battle to fight. He’ll have potentially wasted a year of his playing career and will have to fight hard to get games elsewhere.
Agent interference or not, Maja has always put in a shift for Sunderland every time he’s pulled on the shirt. I object to is people saying things like “half a good season in league 1 and now Maja thinks he is bigger than the club”.
I don’t think that’s ever been the case. He’s young, he’s very talented, and he’s put himself in the shop window since he first kicked a ball in red and white.
As a professional footballer you only get one shot at making a career of this game.
You don’t get much for loyalty, but I don’t think this is an issue of loyalty. It’s an issue of making the best of your career opportunities. Anyone who has played a career mode on Fifa will know this!
As another commenter put it: “He doesn’t think he is bigger than anything, is just going to a bigger better club who play in Europe. I would definitely chose Bordeaux over Sunderland”.
At time of writing Bordeaux are 10th in Ligue 1 in France. If picked, he’ll get the chance to show his talents against some of the best players in the world. At this moment, Maja is trending on Twitter. He’s going to switch to Nigeria. The way he’s going I can see him playing in the ACON this summer.
It’s been suggested that we are looking at a fee of around £3.5million. It’s probably time to recognise that we are in League One and this is quite a fee for a young player who is yet to clock up 50, let alone 100 professional appearances.
That £3.5 could go a long way towards ensuring we bring in a new striker – possibly even two. Remember, you’re not just buying the player you need wages to go with it.
So Joshua Erowoli Orisunmibare Oluwaseun Maja, I thank you for your service, I wish you well for the future, but I’m disappointed that future won’t be with Sunderland.
We’re still a club, with a huge, loyal fan base who just want the team to do well.
I’d say “Big Club”, which we are size wise for the area, but if you start throwing “big club” around you’ll end up like our barcoded neighbours up the road.
We’re still rebuilding in the wake of a horrendous previous regime.
We are still a team made up of predominantly young players.
Time is on our side. Now is not the time to be impatient or demand instant successes.
There will be more like Maja. Some will stay, some will go. But so long as they put the effort in for as long as they’re with us, I’ll give them a cheer.
Ed’s Note [Gav]: Chris, you’re far too sensible! In all seriousness you make very good points, but I guess that because the news is still very raw, people are feeling a little emotional about it. A fellow Roker Reporter remarked the other day: “Just because Sunderland is the be all and end all of some people’s lives doesn’t mean it is for a young footballer from Lewisham”, and as blunt as that is, he’s right.
Maja employs an agent to maximise his career opportunities, and that’s all that is happening here. It’s annoying but Sunderland will move on, I’m sure. We have to.
Dear Roker Report,
Well if all the speculation is to believed, Maja is away.
This will be very disappointing for all Sunderland fans as I feel he is a genuine talent, especially his finishing, heading aside as he needs to work on that.
I may be way off mark here but reading all of the press reports, it would appear from the outside looking in that your agents greed coupled with your lack of confidence to stand up to him, will ruin your career before it’s even started. My advice would be to get another representative. Anyway good luck Josh if you are away.
Now Sunderland, get as much money as possible and invest it all plus a little more on Keiffer Moore at Barnsley as well as Will Grigg - that will be enough for promotion in my opinion.
We are so close now, don’t penny pinch on this, don’t waste this opportunity by being careful with the money, it will not take a great deal. If we need to offer players plus cash to Barnsley or Wigan then do so. If we can move Oviedo on then do so.
Please do not rely on Wyke, Maguire, McGeady and O’Nien - they’re good players but the last three are not strikers, and the jury is well and truly out on Wyke.
Come on Sunderland, we have 6 days to make a difference and win this league outright with the right additions - here’s hoping.
Ed’s Note [Gav]: There were press reports yesterday that we had made a bid/registered interest in Moore but my suspicion is that he might be a bit out of our price range. Grigg, on the other hand - the rumour was that Wigan wanted £1m. We’ve had four bids turned down, and with just six days left I think we’re playing with fire.
Just pay what they want, get him in and move on to the next target.