Sunderland legend on his concern and disappointment as Josh Maja heads for Bordeaux
Kevin Phillips says Josh Maja is spurning the chance to become a Sunderland legend by moving to Bordeaux.
The 20-year-old has completed a medical at the French club and is expected to confirm his move shortly.
Sunderland moved to cash in after he made clear his intention to sign a pre-contract agreement abroad at the beginning of this week.
EXPLAINED: Josh Maja to Bordeaux: What happened, what's next and what Sunderland will change in futurePhillips, one of the clubs' greatest ever strikers, says Maja should have stayed until the end of the season and fired the club to promotion.
"I'm very surprised " said Phillips, appearing on Sky Sports The Debate.
"I think first and foremost he is a fantastic young player, very exciting, he is a goalscorer as he has proved this season.
"He has 16 goals for Sunderland and I would have to say without him Sunderland wouldn't be sitting third in the league.
"For them to be losing him is going to hurt Sunderland and I am very, very surprised because a lot of clubs have been linked with him in this country.
"If he was to stay at the club and [keep scoring], one you become a Sunderland legend straight away and two, you'd get the move in the summer - I can only assume that someone is in his ear, whether it be his agent or family.
"We are talking about yet another young player, if it is about the money, going to chase the money at 20. He has been playing professional football for not even 18 months," he added.
"Just continue what you are doing. That would be my advice. Continue playing for Sunderland, help them get promoted then your money is going to go up if you want to stay at Sunderland and if you want to then move at Sunderland.
"Just for his development, why would you want to go across to France where Bordeaux are eleventh in the table. He played in front of 47,000 people on Boxing Day. Will he play in front of that at Bordeaux? I am not sure he will.
"For him to move on now would diminish all that hard work he has done in the academy and up to this point so far. The supporters won't forgive him for that."
Bordeaux boss Eric Bedouet has admitted that Maja may need time to adapt to a new challenge in Ligue 1
"We knew him a little bit, I think we do not have time to look too much, we are focused on the field, to prepare the team," he said.
"But we have a sufficiently professional team, specialists who take care of that. We knew him a little.
His profile? We need a scorer, that’s what we need. Apparently, this season he scores goals.
"After, the game in France is different, there are plenty of things difficult to manage like that.
"It is a physically difficult championship, you have to be very strong in front and have the quality of a goalscorer.
"It’s a young player, knowing that a young player does not have that quality right now, it gets ready, it improves, it is fine. But it’s a young talent."