Fulham have made an audacious move to resign former youth product Josh Maja as part of Jean-Michael Seri’s proposed loan move to Bordeaux, according to a L’Equipe report this evening.
The French side are still confident of concluding the season-long loan for Seri over the weekend, with Fulham keen to get the Ivory Coast international off their wage bill for the remainder of the season. The 29 year-old, who has made just two appearances under Scott Parker this term, has expressed a firm preference to return to France despite interest from Galatasaray, who took him on loan last season.
Fulham’s interest in Maja is a late twist to what has been a protracted set of negotiations for Seri’s departure – with Galatasaray’s attempts to take the playmaker back to Turkey having lasted for the duration of two successive transfer windows. Maja, now 22, spent some time in the Fulham academy but moved to Sunderland in March 2015 and scored his first goal against the Whites when the Mackems ended a year-long wait for a home win under Chris Coleman on his league debut as a substitute at the Stadium of Light in December 2017.
The pacey forward made an immediate impression on Wearside, gaining more of a regular starting spot after Sunderland were relegated to League One. Maja scored 16 goals in 30 appearances in 2018/2019 but, after refusing to sign a new contract with his deal due to expire at the end of the season the Black Cats sold him to Bordeaux in January 2019. The 22 year-old has scored eleven goals in 49 appearances, grabbing a first senior hat-trick and an assist in the 6-0 thumping of Nimes in December 2019, and also made his international debut for Nigeria last month.
Maja, who has scored twice in seventeen appearances this term, has interested several of Fulham’s top flight competitors. West Ham, whose boss David Moyes briefly managed the Lewisham-born striker during his time at Sunderland, and West Brom have both reportedly been in discussions with Bordeaux over a proposed permanent transfer in recent days. Fulham’s need for striking reinforcements is well known, with Scott Parker having deployed Ivan Cavaleiro as a makeshift number nine after Aleksandar Mitrovic had struggled for both form and fitness on his return to the top flight. A reciprocal loan arrangement, with Maja heading back to Craven Cottage as Seri gets regular football in France, would be a relatively low-cost way of adding additional firepower to Parker’s squad at a crucial time of the season.
UPDATE: Further reports in the French press this morning claim that Bordeaux and Fulham agreed to keep the prospective loan deals for Seri and Maja separate.