Sunderland are reportedly interested in signing Celtic forward Leigh Griffiths on loan for the 2021/22 campaign, according to The Scottish Sun.
What’s the story?
Griffiths has been with Celtic since 2014, and has gone on to feature heavily for the Bhoys in recent seasons, with the 30-year-old scoring 123 goals in 262 appearances in total for the club.
But he has found regular minutes hard to come by in recent seasons, with Griffiths making 26 appearances in last year’s campaign, as they lost out to Rangers in the Scottish Premiership.
He did sign a one-year deal with Celtic, but that doesn’t seem to have stopped Sunderland from offering him a temporary route out of Celtic Park this summer.
The Black Cats are in the market for a suitable replacement for Charlie Wyke, who left the club when his contract expired, before going on to sign for League One rivals Wigan Athletic soon after.
Could be the missing piece
Sunderland have been somewhat of a ‘sleeping giant’ for far too long now, with this year’s campaign set to be their fourth consecutive season in the third tier of English football.
The Black Cats narrowly missed out on promotion into the Championship last term, as they were beaten by Lincoln City in their play-off semi-final, which condemned them to another season in League One.
Charlie Wyke will leave a sizeable void in their team next season though, with the forward netting 30 goals in 53 appearances for Lee Johnson’s side, so you can understand why the Sunderland boss is keen to find a replacement for the 28-year-old at the earliest of opportunities.
Griffiths could be the answer to that problem position for Johnson, with the forward already showing that he can score goals on a consistent basis, when presented with the opportunity.
Should Sunderland sign Leigh Griffiths?
The Scotsman netted 40 goals in the 2015/16 season, as Celtic won the Scottish Premiership, and Griffiths can feel slightly aggrieved not to have featured as much in recent years for the Bhoys.
In an interview with Football Insider, former Celtic forward Frank McAvennie hoped that Celtic wouldn’t let Griffiths depart back in April, whilst also labelling him as ‘terrific’.
“When he gets those chances, nine out of ten he’ll put away but he’s not been playing that much so I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt.
“It just shows you what a terrific player he is because he’s created chances and got in the danger area but he couldn’t take them.”
Griffiths’ potential wage demands might be a slight concern for Sunderland though, with Salary Sport revealing that the forward is on weekly wages of £15k-per-week, which could be hefty for a club in the third tier of English football.
Sunderland need a player that knows where the back of the net is, and Griffiths certainly fits that description at this moment in time, and it would be somewhat of a coup for the Black Cats to secure a player of his quality, especially given his goalscoring record during his professional career.