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Roker Roundup: Striker linked with Sunderland is off to India instead

An experienced striker who has been repeatedly linked to Sunderland is off to a club in India; Danny Graham explains why he left Blackburn; and Asamoah Gyan WILL NOT play for free!

Roker Roundup 23-24
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Graham on why he left Blackburn

Danny Graham was a popular figure at Blackburn Rovers before departing the Lancashire club at the end of his contract.

Speaking to the Open Goal podcast with Si Ferry, the striker discusses why he decided to leave, saying that he feels he has two or three more years left in his playing career and wants to play more often than he was under Tony Mowbray:

I’m sad but, again, I’ve touched on it before, I didn’t play as much as I feel as though I deserved last season.

Especially after the season before when I won Player of the Year and Player’s Player of the Year and first game of the new season I wasn’t even in the starting eleven, which was kind of strange.

I think that goes back to the love-hate relationship with [Tony] Mowbray but I didn’t play nowhere near enough as I wanted to.

I just recently reached 600 games in my career and I feel as though I have got another two to three years left at a good level, so I feel as though it was the right time for me and the club to part ways.

I’m just glad it ended the way it did, the fans love me there, I got to play my 600th game in my last game for Blackburn, so it’s ended quite well.

Graham also touched on his previous spell with Sunderland, discussing his signing with the club, what it was like working under Martin O’Neill and Paolo Di Canio.

Regarding Di Canio, the 35-year-old said the Italian manager was agitated from the second he took over and once the initial enthusiasm wore off, he atmosphere became brutal:

He was so agitated from the moment from the moment he got in there. He was weird.

He seemed to have a bee in his bonnet, he was saying we weren’t good enough, we’d underperformed, basically laying into trying to get a reaction.

To be fair, it kind of worked for two or three games but once it fizzled out, that little run, he became a bit brutal to be honest.

You can listen to the full Open Goal podcast with Danny Graham by clicking play on the YouTube video below:

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‘Target’ signs for Mumbai

Sunderland had been linked with a move for former Reading forward Adam Le Fondre earlier in the summer.

Le Fondre was expected to leave A-League outfit Sydney FC and that had prompted rumours that Phil Parkinson would make a move for the striker.

Instead the 33-year-old has headed to the ISL to join Indian side Mumbai City on a season-long loan.

Mumbai were once managed by Peter Reid and are part of the City Football Group and Le Fondre told the ISL’s official website that he is excited for this fresh challenge:

This is a new adventure in my footballing journey. The ISL is one of the fastest-growing divisions in the world right now and Mumbai City has the vision and the ambition to be a leading club not only in India, but in Asia.

We’ve got a really strong squad, and arguably some of the top Indian talent at the club. Our coach, Sergio Lobera, has the right vision and the right plan for us. Personally, it’s a fresh challenge for me. The pressure to do well is always there and I’m ready for it. I hope I can continue scoring, helping the team and give our fans back home enough reasons to smile throughout the season.

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Gyan will not play for free

Asamoah Gyan is currently a free agent after leaving NorthEast United of the Indian Super League and has been linked with a move back to his homeland with Asante Kotoko.

Although the player is keen to play for the Ghanaian club before the end of his career, he warned them on Adom TV that they need to be professional and not expect him to turn out for free just because he has the club at heart:

I have said on countless occasion that I have Kotoko at heart, I have also said I will play for them before I retire from the game. As I’m without a club there were speculations that the deal has been finalised but as a professional football player we don’t deal like that.

Though I have made it known that I will play for them but at least we have to go through processes because I’m still a professional footballer. Sometimes I don’t want people to downgrade the Ghanaian league, at times people even get it wrong that if a player travels abroad then he is a professional footballer, but they don’t know that the Ghana league is professional.

Kotoko should do everything professional although I have said I will play for them. I can just stand up and say I’m going to play for the club. I’m available so when they are ready we have to sit down and go through whatever is involved in terms of signing a contract

The new Chief Executive, Nana Yaw Amponsah is my friend and a partner, he is a good guy and knows everything about the game, we talk behind the scene but it’s not even about football because of our relationship. Kotoko should just do things right, they need to do things that will suit the player and the club before the deal can go through, we don’t do a deal just like that.

If everything goes the way I expect; I will join Kotoko. Football is my job and everything will depend on me and the club but it’s all about negotiations. People will say I have money, so I should play for free, but we don’t do that. If it happens that way, it means you are trying take advantage on me, people have the impression I love the club, so I will play for free, no, I won’t do that.

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