Sunderland will reportedly sell Josh Maja to Celtic, if they can loan him back first
Celtic have been reported to be interested in the young striker, who broke through from Sunderland’s academy last season.
Sunderland have been linked with a loan move for Lewis Morgan, and a swap deal had been mooted.
However, now it is reported that Sunderland would prefer to keep their coveted youngster if they can until the end of the season.
This actually suits Celtic. They have just signed a barrage of new attackers in the January transfer window.
Oliver Burke, Timothy Weah and Vakoun Issouf Bayo have all joined the Bhoys this month. Maja would only add to that, and with competition fierce, staying at Sunderland until the summer would be a smart move.
The 20 year old has scored 17 goals in 27 appearances for the Black Cats this season. He has indicated that he is not willing to extend his contract at Sunderland past this season.
Maja to Celtic would not be the first time the Scottish champions have exploited a loophole in the transfer system.
If they were to sign him on a pre-contract agreement, they would have to pay Sunderland a fee for developing the striker.
However, due to a cross-border technicality, they would only have to stump up a nominal fee. They used this method to sign Moussa Dembele for £500k from Fulham in 2016.
This is an attractive proposition for Maja too, as he can make more money if Celtic don’t have to splurge on his transfer fee.
Sunderland’s caveat that he must return on loan is not something that should put Celtic off completing a deal.
Sunderland are desperate to hold onto their prized asset.
Selling him to Celtic means he won’t come back to haunt them in the near future, if they can propel themselves back up the divisions.
They will be hoping to achieve this and keep him until the summer.
However this also suits Celtic, who can monitor their future star and bed in their new strikers at the same time.