What are Wigan Athletic getting with Charlie Wyke?
Wigan Athletic made a real statement of intent when confirming the capture of League One goal machine Charlie Wyke on a three-year deal.
The 28-year-old scored 31 goals for Sunderland last season, but turned down a new deal on Wearside - and interest from Celtic and the Championship - to join Latics.
Here, Mark Donnelly from the Sunderland Echo reveals a little bit more about Latics’ latest capture...
What kind of striker are Wigan Athletic getting?
Wyke comes alive in the box, and he’s certainly the type of player you would put into the ‘poacher’ mould. If there are good deliveries into the area, then he’ll make sure he gets on the end of them. A high percentage of his goals last season were first-time finishes and, at his best, he showed real instinct to get onto the end of crosses. He developed a strong partnership with Aiden McGeady following his return to the team that yielded strong results and if he can do similar with the widemen at Wigan then he will undoubtedly score goals. There are some question marks over his all-round game - although he will certainly hold-up play and run the channels well - but in and around the goal he comes into his element.
Why were Sunderland not able to keep him - purely financial or also future direction?
There’s probably an element of both. Sunderland were keen for Wyke to remain on Wearside but, like all other clubs, are having to cope with the financial realities of a year without supporters. While the club do have money to spend this summer, they may not be splashing the cash in the way they have done in the past.
What’s been the reaction among the fans, losing a key player to a team that was in administration as recently as March this year?
The reaction has been fairly muted, and I think there has been an understanding for a while that it was likely that Wyke would depart this summer. The striker was always an interesting topic of debate among Sunderland supporters and with Ross Stewart - who was impressive in his appearances last season - waiting in the wings, the reaction to losing a 31-goal striker has not been as passionate as it may have been in other circumstances. That said, much will depend on who Sunderland can recruit in Wyke’s place.
Does his signing mean Wigan Athletic are now one of the teams Sunderland will be worried about next season?
I think even before Wyke’s departure, Wigan were a side that many were tipping for promotion. The additions made by Leam Richardson thus far have been extremely impressive and - having already seen their side lose to Richardson’s team twice last season - there will naturally be an intrigue from Sunderland supporters as to what he can do with the stronger squad of players who will arrive at the Stadium of Light on August 7.
Does his departure mean Will Grigg may get another run in the side?
In the short-term, it looks almost certain that Grigg will continue to play a part in Sunderland’s early pre-season fixtures given the club’s current lack of senior players. But in the longer-term, his future remains unclear. If a reasonable offer comes in then the club may well entertain it, especially given Grigg has just a year left on his deal. It would be a major surprise at this point to see him become a regular starter once the League One season kicks-off.
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