Celtic target '˜could be sold and loaned back'

Sunderland boss Jack Ross has admitted selling striker Josh Maja and immediately bringing him back to the club on loan could be a solution to the uncertainty surrounding his future.

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The 20-year-old, who has been heavily linked with Scottish champions Celtic in recent days, has rejected a new contract at the Stadium of Light with his existing deal due to expire at the end of the season.

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He has found himself at the centre of speculation with several clubs understood to be monitoring his situation, leaving his manager uncertain over his continued presence on Wearside despite the League One club having received no firm approach for the player.

Josh Maja is wanted by Celtic. Picture: Harriet Lander/Getty

However, asked if a sale followed by a loan deal could be an option, former St Mirren boss Ross told a press conference: “It’s a potential option, it’s a potential solution, if you like because if he did go, then naturally we have to find a replacement at a time when we are also looking to strengthen in that area.

“I had a similar situation not long ago with a young player called Lewis Morgan, who signed for Celtic in January and was loaned back to St Mirren at the time, and it was the perfect scenario for me at that juncture.

“It’s something, because of Josh’s age and perhaps how any purchasing club would view him, that could be an option for us.

“But that is all it is. It’s nothing that has even been discussed more than as a potential scenario just simply because there has been no concrete interest or discussion from any other clubs.”