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Sunderland must not rely on Josh Maja up front next season

Sunderland are currently lacking in striking options.

Mathew Nash



It has been a tough week at Sunderland. The Black Cats have lost two of their top young attacking talents. Swedish forward Joel Asoro looks set for Swansea City after the two teams agreed on a fee. They also lost 16-year-old Sam Greenwood. He has agreed to join Arsenal’s youth system. It leaves Sunderland in a massive predicament in the attacking department.

Sunderland have hardly any strikers left on board, after the loan of Ashley Fletcher ended the Black Cats are very short up front. With James Vaughan and Lewis Grabban departing last season they are now stuck with just one striking option. The player in question is 19-year-old Josh Maja.

(Photo by Jack Thomas/Getty Images)

The Londoner played 18 times for Sunderland last season, scoring just one goal. But he is a top talent for the future and Sunderland must ensure they keep hold of him and use him in League One.

“They (Maja and Bali Mumba) will stay. They want to be Sunderland players.”

– Sunderland chairman Stewart Donald on Maja’s future

However, Sunderland cannot rely on him. The Black Cats are still hunting for new recruits and at least two new frontmen are going to be needed in order for Sunderland to fight for promotion.

Maja is a brilliant talent, but putting the pressure on him to lead the line would be a big mistake from Sunderland this season.

Sports journalist based in Bristol. Previously spent five years writing for HITC Sport. Everton fan for my sins.

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Age and wages will leave Sunderland struggling to sell Papy Djilobodji

Mathew Nash



There is a sense of excitement around Sunderland at the moment, despite their relegation to League One. It is only the second time the club has featured in the third-tier of English football but with a new owner, new manager and a new first-team shaping up, there are reasons to be positive.

Of course, there is also some deadwood to trim. Four players who are all expected to leave Sunderland this season are currently still on the books. Didier Ndong, Lamine Kone, Bryan Oviedo and Papy Djilobodji are all set to leave this summer.

The latter will no doubt prove the hardest to sell.

Djilobodji joined Sunderland from Chelsea in the summer of 2016 for a fee in the region of £8 million. The Senegalese star went on to become an undoubted failure at the Stadium of Light.

(Photo credit should read PHILIPPE DESMAZES/AFP/Getty Images)

Despite impressing on loan at Werder Bremen before his move to Wearside, he flopped dramatically. He played 21 times as Sunderland were relegated from the Premier League, failing to impress in any of his appearances.

Now, despite the fact he had a half-decent spell at Dijon on loan last season, selling the player will not be easy.

The 29-year-old, who has had his wages stopped after failing to report for pre-season training, turns 30 in December. Sunderland will want to recoup as much of their £8 million fee as possible, although surely know that is increasingly unlikely. Nobody will go near that price for a failing talent approaching his 30th birthday.

“He has requested not to come back – no we are not paying his wages.”

– Sunderland owner Stewart Donald on Papy Djilobodji


Then there are his wages. Djilobodji is reportedly on £33,000-a-month, according to L’Equipe, which no club will want to pay for his services. that equates to £1.7 million-a-year. 


Sunderland must do what they can to get rid of the Senegalese defender. But finding someone to stump up cash and buy him? That is looking like a tall order.   

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Elliot Embleton shows Sunderland what he can do with stunning England u-19 display

The England under-19 international was sensational against Turkey yesterday.

Mathew Nash



England under-19s got their European Championship campaign off to a winning start yesterday evening. They defeated Turkey 3-2 in a hard-fought affair in Finland. It was a game which will have left Sunderland fans very excited.

The winning goal was scored in the 54th minute by Sunderland midfielder Elliot Embleton. His goal made it 3-1 before Turkey pulled one back moments later. He cut in from the right-hand side before rifling a rasping left-footed curler into the top-corner. It was an unstoppable goal and that, in itself, should have been enough to have Sunderland fans excited.

But his all-round performance was sensational.

(Photo by Ian Horrocks/Getty Images)

He swung in a right-footed free-kick for Japhet Tanganga to score England’s first of the night. He then slotted a perfectly timed left-footed through ball into Ben Brereton, the Nottingham Forest man finishing coolly.

Sunderland were relegated to League One last season and it seems plenty of their young talent will get a chance this season

Embleton has to be a part of that. The 19-year-old looks to be a star of the future for Sunderland, if he can replicate this sort of performance on a regular basis.

There is certainly reason for Sunderland fans to be excited about Embleton’s potential impact at the Stadium of Light.

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Mohamed Eisa could be Sunderland’s answer to Jamie Vardy

The Sudanese striker has been in goalscoring form his entire footballing career.

Mathew Nash



Sunderland look in pole position to sign Mohamed Eisa from Cheltenham Town this summer. As reported by the Roker Report yesterday, Sunderland made a seven-figure bid for the player last week. That has since been reported by the Sunderland Echo to be in the region of £1 million and would be an excellent piece of business from the Black Cats.

Sunderland desperately need a new striker. The club are lacking any real striking options other than youngster Josh Maja.

Eisa has been in fine form for Cheltenham. Last season he scored 25 goals in 50 games for the League Two side in his debut Football League season.

(Photo by Marc Atkins/Getty Images)

There are of course reservations over his footballing background. The Sudanese-born Londoner has never played above League Two level. He came through the non-league ranks with Dartford, Corinthian and Greenwich Borough – never receiving any ‘formal’ academy football training.

But his raw talent could be enough to carry him through to success at Sunderland. The 24-year-old has a career record of 98 goals in 161 games.

That is comparable to Charlie Austin, who made his name with the likes of Hungerford Town, Poole Town and Swindon before heading for the big leagues. The best example, however, is probably Jamie Vardy.

Stocksbridge Park Steels, Halifax Town and Fleetwood Town is where he cut his teeth. Now he is an England international, Premier League winner and record breaker.

Sunderland will be aware this is a gamble but, as evident, those gambles can pay off. If Eisa goes on to become their very own Jamie Vardy, then £1 million will look a bargain in the years to come.

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