Max Gradel - a saga brews
The Northern Echo is today reporting that Sunderland are buckling at the £3.5 million asking price for winger Max Gradel. Bournemouth seem keen to get a permanent transfer sorted for the Ivorian, but we are looking for a loan which would then become permanent if we gain promotion back to the Premier League.
The main concern from Sunderland's perspective is that Gradel has a questionable fitness record. The club are unwilling to part with a large chunk of their transfer budget on a player who might not play for extended periods of next season, so a loan would represent a more sensible piece of business in this instance.
Gradel has travelled with Bournemouth to their pre-season training camp in Marbella and is reportedly weighing up his options. The winger only made 11 substitute appearances last season, so it is safe to suggest that his future lies away from the South Coast club.
Tyias Browning is not expected to play any part in tomorrow night's game with Scottish Championship side Livingston FC.
The youngster - signed last week on loan from Everton - is not ready yet to play any part according to Simon Grayson, who touched upon the subject after the draw with Hibernian on Saturday:
He’s a little bit behind schedule in terms of where we are with the fitness side of things, so the likelihood is that he won’t be involved on Wednesday.
Talking also about how he plans to shape Sunderland defensively, Grayson remarked to the Sunderland Echo:
When you’re a team that comes down from the Premier League, you have to have quality. There are certain ingredients that are different from the Premier League, and the players are going to have to get into that mindset. Without the ball, you’ve got to stop the opposition from playing and you’ve got to defend better.
Teams in the Championship are probably going to ask more questions of you in a more direct manner. We have to deal with that, and that’s what we’re going to be working on a lot over the next four or five weeks before the season starts. With the ball, it isn’t a problem because they wouldn’t be at this club unless they could handle it.
Newcastle striker linked
The Sun has today ran with a story linking Daryl Murphy to Aston Villa, Nottingham Forest and ourselves - an easy link to make, perhaps, when considering he's played here before and every one knows we don't currently have a senior striker on our books.
The Republic of Ireland international was made aware earlier this summer that his future at Newcastle was non existent, so it seems a case of where he moves not if he moves.
The suggestion thus far has been that Sunderland would prefer to loan the ex-Ipswich striker as opposed to funding a permanent deal. Newcastle paid £3.5 million for the services of Murphy last summer and limited him to an impact substitute role, where he managed to score 5 goals in 14 appearances.
The only way I can envisage Murphy ending up back at the Stadium of Light next season is if we buy him outright and - depending on the fee - that could be a shrewd piece of business.