Tottenham line up Sunderland star Josh Maja for summer move as striker snubs new contract | Football | Sport
Maja is out of contract at the Stadium of Light at the end of the season and has rejected an extension.
The 20-year-old was missing as Sunderland drew with Luton on Saturday, with illness the official reason for his absence.
Many Black Cats fans were sceptical that was the real reason though.
One posted on social media: “ILLNESS See ya Maja. Clear he’s off.”
Another added: “Did Maja ring in sick himself or did he get his agent to do it for him?”
And one other wrote: “Any hopes of keeping JM are diminishing by the day- once he refused to sign a new contract which offered him substantial pay rise for a L1 player his days as SAFC player really ended.”
It had been claimed that Sunderland offered Maja a deal that was worth seven times his current wages.
But Express Sport understands he rejected that proposal and Tottenham are now ready to pounce.
Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino has utilised a number of youth players this season and would be keen to add to their promising gems.
Tottenham aren’t the first club to express an interest with Crystal Palace believed to also be keeping an eye on the youngster.
Wolves are also rumoured to be keen with Huddersfield and Manchester City keeping tabs too.
Despite the interest, Sunderland boss Jack Ross insisted Maja missed Saturday’s game against Luton because he was unwell.
Ross said: “I know that there’ll be 101 different theories as to why he wasn’t involved.
“The good thing is that I tell the truth – when I say he is ill, that is the case.
“I first got word last night at 10pm that he was unwell, he deteriorated overnight, didn’t feel any better this morning, and the doctor went to see him mid-morning and he had a stomach bug.
“One, Josh isn’t that type of lad [to say he was ill when that was not the case], and two, there’s absolutely nothing happening with any club in terms of him leaving as things stand.
“It is as straightforward as that.”