Sunderland and Bristol Rovers have lost out to Charlton Athletic in the race to sign Lyle Taylor, who penned a two-year deal with the Addicks this afternoon.
It was thought that Sunderland were very keen on signing the forward and had made a very good offer to him, but he has instead opted to stay in the capital and move to a club closer to home.
Speaking about the deal, Charlton manager Lee Bower confirmed that a bigger club (understood, of course, to be Sunderland) had put down a better deal - but it wasn’t enough to pull him away:
He obviously had interest from other clubs. There was a big club in our division that made him a much better offer and I think it just shows the lad’s attitude to come to us.
His decision to come was based on football, simple as that, and I think that shows where we are as a club and the stature we’ve got.
Taylor grew up in the Greenwich area - a stone’s throw from the Valley Stadium - and, having spent a number of years with AFC Wimbledon, lives close by with his family who are thought to have been one of the main factors behind why he has chosen to sign a contract with Bowyer’s side ahead of the new season.
Taylor’s agent is former Sunderland left-back Ian Harte, who is a close personal friend of Bowyer from their many years spent together at Leeds United.
Just two days ago the Charlton manager spoke to the press about a potential signing - understood to be Taylor - and aluded that it was his friendship with the agent that he hoped would help sway the forward’s decision on where to spend his future:
We are very close with two. Very, very close – I’ve literally just spoken to an agent now, funny enough he is a friend of mine – I played with him before.
We are trying to push that one through. It’s the main two I am looking to complete. They have been a big push for the last week or so. We’re definitely close. There is another club interested in one of them. I’m trying to pull any small strings – I’m trying the mate thing and everything with the agent!
It will be the player’s decision. We can’t control that. We can only offer what we can offer and the other team will offer what they can offer. By the end of today we should know if he is coming to us or going to them.
Sunderland will now move on to pursue other targets having also lost out on Florient Kamberi to Hibs, who told the press up in Scotland yesterday that his decision to sign there rather than at Sunderland came down to which league would provide him with the best platform to eventually play Premier League football in England.