Sunderland transfer rumours: Black Cats eye bargain swoop for 20-goal forward

Sunderland step up their pursuit of forward Joe Pigott

Sunderland will be hoping to put the disappointment of the previous campaign behind them later this year by launching a push for promotion in League One.

Despite illustrating some real signs of promise under the guidance of manager Lee Johnson, a lack of consistency during the latter stages of last season ultimately led to the club failing to secure a return to the Championship.

Whilst Sunderland started their preparations for another year in League One by releasing a host of players earlier this month, they have yet to make any additions to their squad as they look to resolve the future of one of their star performers.

Despite holding talks with the Black Cats over a new deal in recent weeks, Charlie Wyke has yet to commit his future to the club and is currently attracting a great deal of interest from Celtic.

A report from the Northern Echo last Saturday revealed that Sunderland had reportedly all-but accepted defeat in their battle to retain the forward following the Scottish side's decision to entere the race for his signature.

If Wyke does indeed call time on his stay at the Stadium of Light when his current deal expires at the end of June, the Black Cats will need to draft in a replacement who knows exactly what it takes to thrive at this level.

One player who could potentially fill the void left by the forward is Joe Pigott who is set to become a free-agent this summer after turning down a new contract at AFC Wimbledon.

According to The News, Sunderland are reportedly pursuing a move for the 27-year-old and could offer him a significant amount of money in terms of wages in order to seal a deal.

However, the Black Cats will have a battle on their hands to secure the services of Pigott as the forward has already held talks with Luton Town and Bristol City over potential moves.

It is understood that Pigott, who is also attracting attention from Portsmouth, would prefer to join a Championship side this summer.

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Whilst Sunderland will face an uphill task to convince Pigott to make the move to the Stadium of Light due to the fact he is the subject of considerable interest from clubs in the second-tier, it would be somewhat of a masterstroke if they are able to seal a deal for the forward.

A stand-out performer for AFC Wimbledon last season, Pigott helped the club avoid relegation to League Two by netting 20 goals in the third-tier as he averaged an impressive WhoScored match rating of 7.20 which was only bettered slightly by Wyke who recorded a total of 7.35 in this division.

The forward also registered more shots per game (3.5 compared to 2.4) than the Sunderland talisman and provided more assists for his team-mates (5 compared to Wyke's 4).

Providing that the Black Cats do indeed decide to replace Wyke with Pigott, there is no reason why they cannot go on to thrive in League One next season with the former Maidstone United man leading the line.

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