Sunderland striker ruled out for a month as transfer target chooses Toulouse over Black Cats

Sunderland miss out on Max Gradel.
Sunderland miss out on Max Gradel.
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Sunderland's need for reinforcements in attack has heightened after Josh Maja was ruled out for a month - but Max Gradel won't be arriving on Wearside.

Simon Grayson revealed the Black Cats had agreed a deal with AFC Bournemouth to take Gradel on loan but the forward has instead opted to head to French side Toulouse.

The Sunderland boss had earmarked Gradel as a target after taking charge in the summer but the club must move onto other targets, with Aston Villa striker Ross McCormack the number one priority on loan.

Gradel's move to Toulose was confirmed midway through last night's 1-1 draw with Sheffield Wednesday at Hillsborough in the Championship.

It comes as promising 18-year-old striker Maja has been ruled out for a month after undergoing knee surgery.

Grayson, when asked about Gradel's loan move to France, said: "We spoke to Max but he eventually decided to go to France.

"We had agreed something with Bournemouth and he is a good player that I wanted to bring to the club, it showed you where we are with the players we are looking at.

"That would have been a big signing for us.

"But he just felt that his family wanted to go back to France. That was disappointing but it is part and parcel of football."

Maja had caught the eye in pre-season with four goals but he hasn't featured since the friendly win over Bradford City because of injury and Grayson revealed earlier this week he was seeing a specialist to determine the extent of the knee injury.

Grayson added: "Josh has had an operation on his knee on Tuesday morning.

"He will probably be out for a month, they just found a bit of a problem with his knee and we had to operate."

Sunderland have so far signed seven players this summer with the hard work continuing behind the scenes to bring in further new faces.

The transfer window doesn't close until August 31 and Grayson has again reiterated his stance that it should close before the season kicks off - with the issue a hot topic nationally.

He added: "100 per cent I want to see it close [before the season starts], I have been on about it for several years.

"I think it is totally against what you are trying to do as a manager, you are trying to get your group together and want to know where you are.

"We have talked about this over the past few weeks, we are vulnerable to players leaving as every other club in the country and Europe is too.

"Hopefully it comes in sooner rather than later."