The recent saga with Josh Maja and his unsigned contract is nothing new to the footballing world. It is yet another instance of everyone’s least favourite group of people in the sport trying to move their client on to a more luxurious contract, which means more money with which to line their own pockets.
Agents are a plague on the game. The more money which has come into football, the more we’ve heard of these people dictating transfers and contract negotiations. Agents fees are surely now some of the biggest expenses for a football club and they’ll only continue to rise as even more money floods in at the top-end of the game.
Over the years we’ve seen the influence of agents play a part in players leaving our club - Joel Asoro’s move to Swansea City in the summer was the latest example of that. The Swede’s former strike partner could, theoretically, also do the same.
If this saga had worked out differently, if Maja’s agent had asked for higher wages for his client and Sunderland had turned this request down, it could be understandable. It would still be another greedy agent trying to squeeze a club dry for his client, but nevertheless it would be easier to swallow.
However, the way in which the agent has allegedly asked for a rise, which the club agreed to, only to be told by a reporter that Maja won’t be signing his new contract, is difficult to swallow.
Personally, I think this shows just how bad at his job Maja’s agent is. His client would have been on very good money in the third division and he would continue to be one of the first names on the team sheet at the Stadium of Light, but greed seems to be the key motivator.
Maja put in a good performance at Charlton and he received a generally good reception from the Mackem masses. This next week could potentially be just as big as the last for Maja and his contract. If the dotted line remains unsigned then Saturday’s visit of Luton could be a real indicator of what Sunderland fans really think of the young striker. If he does manage to put his agent in his place (which he has the power to do) then he will receive a welcome worthy of any prodigal son. The benefit for Maja is that he won’t need to leave to get it.
I honestly believe Maja did want to stay here at one point, and he still might; however, it seems his agent has done enough to turn his head towards a golden ticket to a destination which doesn’t exist.
Agents aren’t going away anytime soon, but it’s time players started to put themselves in control of their own career more. If Josh Maja wants to stay at Sunderland, then he should tell his agent this is where he wants to stay. If not, then it’s time for him to allow both himself and Sunderland AFC to move on.
No player will ever be bigger than a football club.