clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Winger, striker & defenders linked: a busy week for Grayson as Sunderland set for ins & outs

It looks set to be the busiest week of the summer so far in terms of incomings and outgoings at the Stadium of Light.

Hibernian v Sunderland - Pre Season Friendly Photo by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images

With the Championship season kicking-off two weeks on Friday, Sunderland boss Simon Grayson looks let for a busy few days with sources suggesting Black Cats officials are anticipating a heating up of transfer activity from the middle of this week.

Gossip hints that the Sunderland boss expects movement in and out of the club in the coming days with diary entries being shunted about to accommodate meetings with players and their representatives.

Nothing concrete to report as yet but it will be worth noting the transfer rumours as the days progress and giving them a little more credence than usual as enquiries and deals move forward.

Sunderland v Swansea City - Premier League
The Stadium of Light
Photo by Paul Thomas/Getty Images

Now that the club’s pre-season preparations are set to swing into phase two after the completion of that trio of fixtures against opposition north of the border, Grayson has had four games in which to assess his squad and figure out what he needs.

And most can draw conclusions as to what that may be as Sunderland’s defence imploded against Scottish Premiership opposition on Saturday and the manager suggested there remain certain players in the Black Cats squad who have little interest in playing for the club.

Sunderland are still light on striking options and a couple more attacking bodies will be needed as a minimum before the season starts.


Reports over the weekend claimed Grayson will move for identified targets as soon as he gets the green light that the club have moved on certain high-earners.

Some of them must be now nearing the exit door with the likes of Lamine Kone, Jeremain Lens and Wahbi Khazri all speculated as being set to be on their way at some point.

Lamine Kone may be the first to shift and it’s probably no coincidence that Sunderland were linked with two centre-backs over the weekend - Bristol City’s Aden Flint and Aston Villa man Tommy Elphick.

Livingston v Sunderland - Pre Season Friendly
Lamine Kone in action against Livingston last week
Photo by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images

Rubber-stamping a deal for the visibly want-away Kone would free up some cash and a chunk of wages for a more economical replacement. Few on Wearside will shed a tear upon the departure of the Ivorian who has wafted around for a year now since his move to Everton last summer was blocked.

Reports in Turkey continue to suggest any of a quartet of Super Lig clubs will land Jeremain Lens. The 29-year-old winger is presently being linked with Galatasary and Besiktas with Fenerbahce and Trabzonspor also mooted as chasing his signature.

Livingston v Sunderland - Pre Season Friendly
Lens celebrates his goal last week
Photo by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images

As for Wahbi Khazri, after an initial flurry of links at the end of the season, there has been no mention of any transfer interest in the Tunisian of late.

The 26-year-old was suggested as a target for Turkish and Spanish clubs at the end of May and also linked with a return to Bordeaux but all has been quiet publicly on those fronts for weeks.

Hibernian v Sunderland - Pre Season Friendly
Khazri was quiet against St Johnstone on Saturday but has generally impressed in the other pre-season games so far
Photo by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images

Other potential exits may yet include the likes of Vito Mannone or Papy Djilobodji but moving them on for a decent deal may prove difficult after neither have impressed much in pre-season or in the last campaign.


As well as the duo of centre-backs linked to Sunderland - Flint and Elphick - the other name which has cropped up in the past few days is Aston Villa striker Ross McCormack.

The 30-year-old has a deadly pedigree in Championship football with impressive spells at Cardiff, Leeds and Fulham before moving to Villa Park last summer.

A £12m signing, the Scotland international fell out with Steve Bruce earlier this year and failed to impress before being loaned to Nottingham Forest in the final part of last season. At the City Ground McCormack made just seven appearances before undergoing surgery on cysts in his mouth.

Aston Villa v Nottingham Forest - Sky Bet Championship
Ross McCormack playing for Villa last term
Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images

McCormack is reputed to earn £50,000 a week in the West Midlands and reports have claimed Villa may let him go for half of what they paid for him last summer - £6m.

Finally, Sky Sports have claimed Sunderland are one of a host of clubs interested in Brighton winger Jamie Murphy.

Norwich City v Brighton & Hove Albion - Sky Bet Championship
Jamie Murphy in action for Brighton last season
Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

The Glasgow-born player has been the subject of speculation he could depart the Seagulls this summer with Fulham, Celtic and Rangers also said to be interested in his services.

Sky reckon a bid of £4m might be enough to entice Chris Hughton into agreeing a sale though the player is said to be keen to stay on at the newly-promoted side.

Murphy played in 35 Championship fixtures last season, scoring a couple of goals and providing a handful of assists.

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for the Roker Report Daily Roundup newsletter!

A daily roundup of Sunderland news from Roker Report