Lille to decide whether to pursue Sunderland’s Jozy Altidore

Jozy Altidore
Jozy Altidore
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FRENCH side Lille will decide next month whether to revive their interest in Sunderland striker Jozy Altidore in the January transfer window.

Altidore’s future at the Stadium of Light remains under scrutiny with the American international yet to start a Premier League game for Sunderland this season and admitting he may have to leave in the transfer window to play regular first-team football.

The Black Cats are likely to sanction the 25-year-old’s departure in January if they can recoup the bulk of the £7million they invested in the summer of 2013, and Lille are potential suitors.

Lille are understood to have made an enquiry with Sunderland over Altidore’s availability during the summer and are thought to be in the market for a striker in January, particularly if Liverpool are able to cut short Divock Origi’s loan spell at the club.

The Ligue 1 side will draw up a five-man shortlist of attacking targets at the start of December, with Altidore’s name expected to be among those potential signings, as he fits the club’s profile.

Altidore, who has previously plied his trade in the Spanish and Dutch leagues, could be attracted by a move to France.

Despite Lille struggling at the wrong end of the table this season, they still have a chance of qualifying for the latter rounds of the Europa League after finishing in third spot last year.

There is also significant interest from the MLS in Altidore, with the former AZ Alkmaar man sparking social media speculation with a post on Twitter over the weekend.

Altidore sent a tweet to David Beckham’s former club LA Galaxy which read: “Stop blowing up my agent’s phone. No means no.”

The post was subsequently deleted.

Wolves, meanwhile, could look to extend the loan stint of Sunderland striker Danny Graham into the New Year.

Graham penned an initial deal with the Championship outfit until December 31 last week after being limited to a single brief substitute’s outing for the Black Cats this season, following last year’s spells with Hull and then Middlesbrough.

The £5million man has been told he is able to leave Sunderland, with the 29-year-old fourth in Gus Poyet’s pecking order up front.

And while Wolves are unlikely to have the finances available to fund a permanent move for Graham in the January transfer window, Molineux boss Kenny Jackett has indicated that an extended loan spell is a possibility.

“Every loan is with a view to a longer term,” he said.

“We’ve seen Grant Holt (at Wigan and Huddersfield) and Glenn Murray (at Reading) come into the division and do very well.

“They’re 33 and 31 so he has some years on them.”

Wolves were one of a number of Championship clubs who held discussions with Graham’s agent earlier in the campaign, yet opted against making a move for the ex-Swansea striker.

But after on-loan Hull frontman Yannick Sagbo was sent back to the KC Stadium due to fitness issues, Wolves turned their attentions to Graham.

However, Jackett has confirmed that Sunderland are still picking up the tab for a portion of Graham’s lucrative Sunderland salary, which runs until the summer of 2016.

He said: “We’re paying a percentage of his wages. There is no loan fee.”

Despite a limited contribution for the Sunderland first-team, Graham impressed Black Cats boss Poyet with his attitude on the training ground and has been an unused substitute on five occasions in the Premier League.

He has also kept himself in shape, with Jackett ready to involve him in this weekend’s clash against Nottingham Forest.

“He’s ready to play and is very keen to play and that showed in his ‘mini’ medical,” added Jackett.

“He’s done all the fitness tests to make sure he could play beforehand because without a games record this season, that transition to first-team football can be difficult.

“His fitness was very good. He’s played Under-21 football and behind-closed-doors games.

“Our physios and fitness people were very confident to take him.

“Us giving him this opportunity I think will kick-start his career.”