Ambitious Sunderland fans are after Celtic striker Leigh Griffiths

By Euan Davidson

April 8, 2021

Sunderland fans are after Celtic striker Leigh Griffiths, according to local media.

The Sunderland Echo ran an open forum on their social media, following news that the new Black Cats owner is willing to spend big. 24-year-old Swiss billionaire Kryil Louis-Dreyfus has offered a £60m “war chest” to manager Lee Johnson. It is contingent, however, on Sunderland being promoted.

The responses included some interesting names. Foremost, from a Celtic perspective, was striker Leigh Griffiths. The forward has had spells in England before, representing Wolves on 31 occasions, scoring 13 goals [Transfermarkt].

The Sunderland Echo claimed that fans had requested Griffiths alongside the likes of Barry Bannan and Rangers loanee Jordan Jones. If you’ve forgotten the latter, he’s the player who injured himself and got sent off tackling former Celtic man Moritz Bauer, back in 2019 [Herald].

Sunderland currently sit 3rd in EFL League One, with two games in hand on leaders Hull City [EFL]. Their demise in recent years was filmed for a Netflix documentary series, Sunderland ‘Til I Die [IMDb].

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Now on steadier footing, after years of horrendous mismanagement under the likes of former Rangers exec Martin Bain, things are looking up for the Black Cats. For one thing, their ambitious new owner has very clear ideas on how the club should be run [Chronicle Live]:

“Moving forward, we have a long-term strategy which integrates Sunderland’s proud traditions with a modern structure and approach. We will seek to be at the frontier of research and innovation in all performance domains and place great emphasis on player development and the team’s style of play.”

Leigh Griffiths taking on Rangers / (Photo by Alan Harvey/SNS Group via Getty Images)

A great move for Leigh Griffiths, provided he leaves Celtic

This morning, we were offered some clarity on the situation with Griff.

John Kennedy, interim Celtic boss said [Daily Record]:

“The situation, it’s like a lot of players’ contracts, the last year can sometimes be an optional year. Some players might sign a three-year contract with an optional year at the end of it and that’s where Leigh’s at with his.

“There’s an option to end it this year, but that’s one of those decisions that will have to be made between Leigh and the club. It will remain private until it’s decided but that’s something we just have to think about moving forward.”

The Scottish Sun have suggested that Aberdeen and Hibs are interested. However, to truly put himself back into Scotland contention, Sunderland would be a great option. As we’ve seen in recent memory, it’s easier to get into the national team fighting it out in England’s second-tier. Only under Steve Clarke have more domestic players, such as Kevin Nisbet and Andy Considine, seen action.

While there’s absolutely nothing concrete in this, it wouldn’t be terribly surprising if the Black Cats were interested. They have an eye on Scottish football, and currently boast ex-Celt Aiden McGeady in their ranks.

If Celtic have already cut their losses on the enigmatic striker, then looking at England is probably the best move for him. He’ll demand higher wages, no doubt.

It also gives him a chance to win over a crowd who weren’t sold on him at Wolves.

READ MORE: You’ve got to feel for John Kennedy: his dream job is an enduring nightmare