Sunderland chairman Stewart Donald has revealed that the agent of striker Josh Maja may be behind the player rejecting the club's latest contract offer.
Maja rejected the club's new contract offer - which is understood to be worth seven times more than his current deal - just one day after telling Black Cats manager Jack Ross that he would stay at the League One club.
The striker's decision to reject the club's offer came as a shock to Sunderland's chairman Stewart Donald, according to the Chronicle. after he revealed on Twitter that the u-turn may be down to an intervention by the players agent, before stating Maja's decision means it will be a busy January for the Wearsiders.
Donald tweeted: "Josh Maja update. Yesterday Josh asked to see Jack to say he will sign. Today I got a call from Sky TV saying he won't sign.
"Josh advised his agent has said don't sign but no courtesy to tell the club - Also we offered what the agent indicated!!! Busy January ahead"
Donald then stated that Sky TV found out about Maja's decision before the club, as the agent had told their sources before telling anyone at Sunderland.
Donald tweeted: "I would have kept Josh news in-house but once his agent informed Sky & they report it that he doesn't want to sign we have to respond. He wants to sign it this agent that has said don't!!! Stay behind him and don't get up his back - we will try & change his mind.
"To answer all those who say it should be in house. Totally agree. His agent phoned sky to tell them - not the club or myself who would have said nothing. The agent has made this public - not to the benefit of the player!!! We are responding not instigating"
Maja's current contract with the Black Cats expires in the summer, which means if the striker does not sign a new deal, he will be allowed to leave on a free transfer when his current contract runs out.