Sunderland target Max Gradel hints he will stay at Bournemouth

Bournemouth winger Max Gradel.
Bournemouth winger Max Gradel.
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Sunderland target Max Gradel has hinted he will stay at Bournemouth this season after impressing in training.

The 29-year-old wideman was earmarked as one of manager Simon Grayson's main summer targets, with the Black Cats trying to land him on a season-long loan deal with the option to buy next summer.

The Cherries were always understood to be keen on a permanent deal, which would have cost Sunderland around £3million while there was also fierce interest from French sides Nantes and Toulouse.

But Sunderland's hopes of landing him look to have reduced after Gradel hinted he may remain on the south coast after all.

Bournemouth have been training over in Marbella with Gradel catching the eye on the training pitch and in their final friendly win over Estoril - which saw Gradel provide the assist for the first before scoring the second in a 2-1 win.

Speaking afterwards, Gradel suggested he is keen to remain at Bournemouth under boss Eddie Howe.

"For me the most important thing is fitness but it is always nice to set up a goal and score one. For me that is nice," he told the club's website.

"I need to carry on like that because I was injured for a long time and it wasn’t easy to get back to my best.

"I need to find a fresh point to start and hope I find it now and then, hopefully, I can help my team and my team-mates this season.

"I have a good feeling about this season so aim to keep working hard and make sure I keep doing well.

"It is nice to hear the compliments of the manager and for me, I have to now keep working hard and make sure he says that all the time this season."

Grayson had previously worked with Gradel at Leeds United and is keen to be reunited on Wearside, with Sunderland looking to add pace and goals to their attack ahead of the Championship campaign.

Sunderland have also been credited with a strong interest in Aston Villa defender Tommy Elphick but face stiff competition from Birmingham City, who are understood to be favourites to sign the 29-year-old.