Despite headlines suggesting otherwise, the future of Lewis Grabban at Sunderland appears to remain largely unresolved with Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe suggesting discussions over whether to recall the striker are yet to take place.
Responding to questions posed since speculation has intensified surrounding the future of the 29-year-old, the Cherries boss repeated the same line he uttered a few weeks ago:
With Lewis, we will make the right decision for him and us. I think it will be something we will sit down and talk about...
That is something for a later date when will have a chat with Grabbs.
Despite the apparent panic spreading in the north east media, and the eager will of Aston Villa followers and Grabban’s other assorted admirers, to suggest Bournemouth are minded to end the striker’s loan to Sunderland and sell him in January, we’re little further forward on the position Howe stated a couple of weeks ago.
The Cherries boss uttered pretty much the exact same line that he has today in conversation with the Bournemouth Echo on the 3rd December:
We will sit down with Grabbs and make the right call for him, for us and for everybody, to see what the next step is. The recall was put in for a number of reasons but there is no doubting his quality.
The links to Villa surfaced over the weekend and may be a little too convenient given that Steve Bruce a) needs a striker and b) has no money to spend and so will be relying on securing a loan deal. Earlier reports that Wolves and others were after Grabban appear to have quietened though it’s little secret that Bournemouth are keen to sell and recoup some of the £7m they paid for him in 2016.
Grabban has scored 11 goals for Sunderland this season - roughly forty-percent of the Black Cats total tally - and is one of just two senior strikers at the club. His teammate James Vaughan has largely failed to impress, with just a couple of strikes since arriving from Bury in the summer.
In truth, it’s difficult to evaluate Grabban’s contribution beyond the number of goals he’s scored. The much-travelled hit man displayed his potency under Simon Grayson but never really matched the sacked manager’s preferred playing style.
Grabban has continued his form in front of goal under Coleman, with two goals since the Welshman took charge at the Stadium of Light. But there are some who suggest his movement and energy levels can be subdued in games and his all round offering to the team is pretty limited.
There is a school of thought that Chris Coleman may be looking for something different up front as he moves forward with assessing his squad and rebuilding it as he sees fit. Whether that’s in January - who knows as yet.