Sunderland owner Stewart Donald opens up on dramatic deadline day and how they signed Will Grigg from Wigan

Sunderland completed the signing of Wigan striker Will Grigg with about 50 seconds to spare, according to Black Cats owner Stewart Donald.

Saturday, 2nd February 2019, 18:44 pm
Updated Thursday, 7th February 2019, 16:10 pm
Sunderland owner Stewart Donald says they completed the signing of Will Grig with 50 seconds to spare.

The 27-year-old forward finally penned a three-and-a-half year deal at the Stadium of Light, following a dramatic transfer deadline day on Wearside.

Sunderland saw five bids rejected for Grigg before finally getting the deal over the line for the Northern Ireland international.

And in the latest episode of the Roker Rapport podcast, Donald opened up on Sunderland's pursuit of the striker.

It was clear early on in the window that Grigg, who helped Wigan win promotion from League One last campaign, was Sunderland's No.1 transfer target in January.

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But after seeing early offers knocked back, some reports claimed Sunderland's bids were well below Wigan's valuation of the player.

However, Donald insists that wasn't the case.

"I didn't low-ball them with one or £200,000, it was double that," said the Sunderland owner.

"In Wigan's position Will Grigg is a popular player, they didn't want to sell him, they fought hard not to sell him and they said at the start the price needs to reflect they don't want to sell him.

"We had a meeting instigated by someone connected at Wigan who told us he was available at £1million.

"When someone says £1million you don't go straight in at £1million because you know it will be £1.5million so we went in twice below £1million but not super low-balling.

"It got to a stage where they said that's the figure so we then put in a bid and just got a response back that said he's not for sale at that price."

Donald went on to say Sunderland improved their offer to £1.5million about a week before the end of the window, which was once again rejected by the Latics.

The Black Cats then started enquiring about other targets in the Championship and League One, yet Donald described some of the prices they got back 'ridiculous'.

After the asking price for Grigg rose higher than anticipated, Donald told Wigan representatives he was prepared to leave it at that.

But in the final days of the window, the deal was revived.

"Jack I know really wanted Will and I thought I've just got to do the best I can do and put the best offer in that I can," said Donald.

"And I left it and I left it, waiting to see if they would come and I thought I've just got to do the best I can.

"I pushed the bid up and it was just no, they were coming back saying it's January tax and Sunderland tax.

"I left it as late as I could to go in with that last offer," which Donald believes came at around 7pm on deadline day.

"We signed him I think with about 50 seconds to spare, we got the paper work back with four minutes to go and then had to get it through."