Josh Maja scored 15 League One goals for Sunderland between August and January but left for Ligue 1 outfit Bordeaux two months ago.

Victor Anichebe has slammed Sunderland for allowing Josh Maja’s contract to run down after they were forced to sell their top scorer in January, while speaking to Football League World.

Maja was a revelation in the first half of the campaign, scoring 15 goals in 24 League One games with Jack Ross’s side establishing themselves among the favourites for promotion.

But, with just six months left on his contract, Sunderland had little choice but to sell their star man midway through the season when Ligue 1 outfit Bordeaux came in with a bid of £3.5 million.

Sky Sports reported in January that Maja turned down an improved contract offer that would have seen his wages increase seven-fold ahead of his move across the Channel.

Anichebe believes this is no excuse, however, as Sunderland should have offered Maja a long-term deal well before he exploded on to the scene.

“I would have preferred it if he would have stayed until the end of the season,” said the 30-year-old, who was relegated from the Premier League in his only season at the Stadium of Light.

“But then that’s someone else’s personal preference.

“In a way that’s Sunderland’s own fault.

“Even when I was there I could see that he was a really good player so they should have tied him down to a contract back then instead of allowing him to run his contract down.”

Sunderland replaced Maja with Will Grigg on the final day of the January transfer window but the Northern Ireland international has had a slow start on Wearside. He has scored just once in six starts so far.

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