Latest on Maja’s future
It was revealed yesterday that Josh Maja had told the club that his agent had advised him against signing a new contract at Sunderland, which led to a flurry of media reports of reported interest in the striker.
However despite the club agreeing to the demands of both the agent and the player, the agent has not spoken to the club for 10 days - since the deadline was set.
Despite a myriad of clubs being linked with Maja, there has not been as much interest in the player from Premier League sides due to the relatively high cost of acquiring a player who has only just made an impact at first team level.
The 19-year-old was offered around £10,000 per week, with a rise included should we get promoted and a release clause if we miss out.
Sunderland are still confident that they will be able to keep the 15-goal striker and he will travelling with the first team squad as usual for the game against Charlton Athletic, as Stewart Donald hopes the fans will remain behind the player and help the team come away from Valley Parade with three points.
Donald will join us on the Roker Rapport podcast on Monday to discuss the Maja situation as well as many other topics, so follow us on Twitter for updates and subscribe to us on iTunes, Acast, Spotify and YouTube to listen to the interview as soon as it’s available.
Just spoken to @stewartdonald3 about the Maja situation. He will be travelling with the squad tomorrow and Donald wants the fans to back him and help us get the three points.— Connor Bromley (@ConnorBromley) January 4, 2019
He is also still confident that Maja will still stay at the club.
Steed makes a comeback
Former Sunderland winger Steed Malbranque appeared to retire in the summer after leaving MDA Chasselay after a short 12-game spell with the French club, which is hardly a surprise considering he turns 39 tomorrow.
But Malbranque sprung a surprise yesterday after signing a new deal with the French fourth division outfit which will see him stay at the club until the end of the season.
Rangers swoop for Sunderland targets
Since the summer Sunderland have been consistently linked with Scottish Premiership stars Glen Kamara and Jordan Jones but Steven Gerrard’s Rangers appear to have won the race for both players.
Kamara of Dundee had been scouted by Sunderland as recently as October after initially being the subject of a failed bid by Jack Ross back in August and Kilmarnock winger Jones was the subject of strong interest from the club during the summer.
However both players are out of contract in the summer and are set to undergo medicals with Rangers ahead of signing pre-contract agreements with club.
Rangers are also expected to sign Jermain Defoe on a long-term loan deal in the coming days.
Stanley against Sunderland game change
Sunderland’s home fixture against League One rivals Accrington Stanley was brought forward 24 hours to Friday, February 15 at 19.45 so it can be shown live on Sky Sports.
This is not ideal due to Sunderland playing their rearranged home fixture with Blackpool just three days earlier and the possibility of the game being postponed anyway in the case of Accrington’s continuing involvement in the FA Cup.
Now the Lancashire club have written to the EFL asking them to reconsider their decision to move the game due to the impact it will have on their fans.
Accrington Stanley have written to EFL requesting they reconsider the decision to move next month’s away match at Sunderland to a Friday night for TV coverage due to impact on travelling fans. Story to follow online. #asfc— Alex James (@alexjameshack) January 4, 2019
Steele on Sunderland ‘Til I Die
One of the ‘stars’ of the Netflix documentary Sunderland ‘Til I Die has been talking about his participation in the series.
Jason Steele is expected to start in the FA Cup for Brighton & Hove Albion at the weekend and he says he has not watched the show yet, with the goalkeeper hinting that doing so may bring back too many bad memories and that he is just concentrating on waking up with a smile on his face after such a difficult year:
Some of the boys have been winding me up. From all accounts it’s a very good watch and a credit to the boys back at Sunderland for sticking with it last year.
A lot of us could have thrown the towel in and not done anything and pushed it aside. But we all did it in tough circumstances.
I haven’t watched it. Whether I will I don’t know. I’m just focused on waking up every day with a smile on my face, going to work and doing the best I can.
They [Albion team-mates] just wind me up about my accent. To be fair they’ve been kind, they’ve been saying I come across really well. As long as you come across as a good human being in times of distress, I think that’s a nice attribute to have.
People don’t understand a lot of footballer’ mentalities in terms of when you are in a difficult situation being from up there, living up there, kids going to school up there. You go out of the house, people are looking at you, people are asking questions, it’s not easy.
Maybe that’s an insight to how difficult it was up there. I’m not saying it was just for me, there were 25 of us going through the same thing. It’s a good insight, I think, from what I gather everybody is really positive about it.
Steele was asked whether his move to Albion was about rehabilitation, he replied that it was possibly was but that what happened at such as Sunderland will live with him forever:
Possibly, don’t get me wrong, I’m still proud of stuff I’ve achieved. I’m not looking at it doom and gloom.
People just look at what happened last year at such an unbelievable club like Sunderland.
To be a part of that is going to live with you forever. It’s one of those things, it happens in football.
I’ve come here and everyone has been brilliant. I’m enjoying my football again.