DANNY GRAHAM was today expected to complete a deadline day move to the Stadium of Light after Sunderland agreed a fee for the Swansea City striker, writes Chris Young.
Swansea yesterday accepted Sunderland’s offer in excess of £5million for Graham and the 27-year-old flew to the North East last night to put the finishes touches to the deal after travelling back to South Wales following Tuesday’s Stadium of Light stalemate.
Graham was due to begin talks over personal terms and undergo a medical at the Academy of Light today, but there are not expected to be any hitches towards the Gateshead-born frontman following Alfred N’Diaye and Kader Mangane to Wearside this month.
But Graham, who has also been the subject of a bid from Norwich City, is likely to be Sunderland’s only acquisition before tonight’s 11pm transfer deadline.
Martin O’Neill has submitted an offer for another player, without revealing the identity of the target, but Graham is the only potential deal nearing an imminent conclusion.
That may still change, with deadline day always holding out the possibility of a swift turnaround in available players.
But the Sunderland manager will be simply relieved to have brought a positive conclusion to a pursuit which has lasted for the duration of the transfer window.
O’Neill has been eager to boost his attacking options after selling Fraizer Campbell to Cardiff City and allowing Ji Dong-won to join Bundesliga outfit Augsburg on loan.
And Graham has always been O’Neill’s number one target after proving himself in his maiden Premier League campaign last year by netting 12 times for the newly-promoted Swans, following his £3.5m move from Watford.
Graham has been equally keen to join Sunderland after finding himself confined to a bit-part role under boss Michael Laudrup this season despite netting four goals in four games after Christmas.
But he has grown frustrated as the Welsh outfit bided their time to land a suitable replacement before allowing him to depart.
The former Middlesbrough man’s desire to join Sunderland eventually boiled over this week when he expressed a wish to leave the Liberty Stadium, albeit without submitting a formal transfer request.
And even a hostile reception from a minority of home fans after bring introduced from the bench in Tuesday’s clash between the two clubs, has not dissuaded the boyhood Newcastle United fan from returning to the North East.
Swansea have not given up hope of landing former Black Cats frontman Kenwyne Jones as a replacement, although sources in Wales suggest Laudrup is targeting a loan move for a player on the Continent.