The Black Cats striker has reportedly turned down a new deal from the club and looks set to leave them at the end of this season.
His current contract expires in the summer and it was expected he’d sign an extension. Rumours suggested that Sunderland had offered him substantially more money than the deal he’s currently on.
But Sky Sports’ Keith Downie is this afternoon reporting that Maja has informed Sunderland that he won’t sign a new deal:
BREAKING: Sunderland striker Josh Maja has told Sunderland this lunchtime he will NOT be signing their contract offer. 15-goal Maja had until today to give his final answer to the club. Sunderland offered him seven times his current wage to stay.
— Keith Downie (@SkySports_Keith) January 4, 2019
And that’s been followed up by Sunderland chairman saying that Maja wanted to sign a new deal yesterday – but his agent has got involved and changed his mind:
@SunderlandAFC Josh Maja update. Yesterday Josh asked to see Jack to say he will sign. Today I got a call from Sky TV saying he won't sign. Josh advised his agent has said don't sign but no courtesy to tell the club – Also we offered what the agent indicated!!! Busy January ahead
— stewart donald (@stewartdonald3) January 4, 2019
Now – how do Celtic fit into all of this? Well, right now they don’t, but should the Scottish champions be interested in the young striker?
There are comparisons to Moussa Dembele and the situation that allowed the Hoops to sign him from Fulham in 2016.
His contract at Fulham had expired before he signed on for Celtic – a move that seemed surprising to many at the time considering he’d been linked with a host of top English Premier League clubs.
Maja hasn’t been performing at as high a level as Dembele, but the 20-year-old striker has been scoring regularly for a big club in both the Championship and League One.
And his contract situation suggests other clubs may be interested in taking Maja on a free contract at the end of the season.
At the moment, Celtic have just Odsonne Edouard as a fit striker, with Leigh Griffiths having a break away from the game to concentrate on his health and well being.
It’s been clear that Brendan Rodgers needs to sign a striker – and Maja fits the template of player the Northern Irishman has signed in the past.
He’s got 15 goals and two assists in 24 games for Sunderland this season and has been pivotal in their push for promotion from League One under Jack Ross.
Maja would be one for the future for Celtic, but his performances so far in his short career suggest he could offer plenty in the short term too.