Sunderland striker leaves as League One rivals Wigan Athletic line-up late swoop and lucrative contract
It looks like the situation between Charlie Wyke and Sunderland has reached an end game.
The striker – who scored 31 goals in all competitions for the Wearsiders last season – is now out of contract.
The 28-year-old was offered fresh terms at the Stadium of Light amidst interest in his services from League One and the Championship.
However, it appears that the Teesside-born attacker has decided not to take the Black Cats up on their offer and is now certain to play his football elsewhere next season.
Speaking on his Instagram account, Wyke said: “Thank you to the @sunderlandafcofficial fans who supported me from day one & good luck for the future.”
The post came around the same time as Wyke’s name was mentioned with a potential move to Wigan Athletic – one of Sunderland’s rivals in League One.
According to Sun journalist Alan Nixon, The Latics are interested in a move for the player and may offer the best terms.
Wyke’s goodbye comes as no surprise after head coach Lee Johnson said that he was '95% certain' that Wyke would leave after his contract expired last week.
After Saturday’s 2-2 pre-season draw with Spennymoor Town, Johnson conceded that Sunderland had left the 'door ajar' for further talks should an expected move to the Championship not materialise, but the Black Cats have long been planning for life without their 31-goal striker from last season.
Johnson says that Stewart's January arrival from Ross County, however, was the first part of the club's succession planning.
After an encouraging end to last season, the head coach believes that a full pre-season will leave the Scottish forward ready to make a major impact in League One.
"You have to plan for every eventuality," Johnson said on Wyke's expected departure.
"In fact, that already start with signing Ross Stewart during the window in January.
"They're different players, styles, but they have some similar attributes. And in fairness, he's not really been fully, fully fit for us yet and so this pre-season is very important for him.
"Then we've got Aiden O'Brien and Will Grigg as well."