Wigan Athletic boss hints Sunderland face Will Grigg competition as Black Cats push for deal
Sunderland remain eager to do a deal for Will Grigg, despite Wigan boss Paul Cook revealing that four bids have been rejected.
Cook also suggested that there are other clubs interested in the 27-year-old.
Grigg is Sunderland's top target for the January window and despite the protracted nature of their pursuit, they are unlikely to be deterred by Cook's latest comments.
Wigan have played hardball on the price and Cook has insisted that he doesn't want to sell.
Grigg, however, has remained out of the first team picture and struggled for minutes this season.
Sunderland remain confident a deal can be done.
"Will’s such a good lad, mentally strong, but I’m sure the speculation won’t be good for him and his family,” Cook added.
“The natural thing is for him to be wondering whether the club wants to sell him or not.
“But Sunderland are the ones who have come on to us, they’re the ones who’ve made the bids.
“There’s been one or two other clubs who’ve asked to be kept informed...informed on what?"I’ve asked Liverpool about [Virgil] Van Dijk as well, I’ve asked [Jurgen[ Klopp to keep me informed about that.
"He’d solve all our problems at the back, and Alisson the goalie as well!
“No, I’m only joking, and it’s not a funny matter to be fair, but that’s where we are. You just can’t stop speculation.
“From a managerial point if view, I’ve clamoured to get [Gavin] Massey and [Nick] Powell and [Michael] Jacobs on the pitch with Grigg," he added.
“Those are the four who’ve brought me most joy during my time here - and we haven’t managed to get them on the pitch together at the same time for one reason or another.
“It’s like a jigsaw puzzle where you can’t find all the pieces, but you know they’re all in the building somewhere!”
The move had been thrown into jeopardy last weekend when Grigg suffered an ankle injury.
However, Cook has confirmed that he likely to miss three weeks at most.
Cook says he expects Sunderland to return with a fifth bid.
"The speculation doesn’t bother me if I’m being truthful, because it is what it is,” he said.
“I think Sunderland have made four bids now, and I don’t want to get involved in the debates surrounding this.
“Football’s football, Sunderland can bid for our players, any club can bid for any other club’s players.
“It’s like Steven Gerrard said this week: All players are for sale at the right price. “I’m not going to sit here and tell you nobody is for sale.
"Will Grigg has a price, everyone has a price!
“But I think with the fact you’ve seen us rebuffing four attempts - and forgive me Sunderland if I’m saying anything wrong - you can clearly see our intent is not to sell players.
“Unfortunately for us, Sunderland’s persistence means everybody is expecting them to come back.
“Ideally for me, the transfer window will come and go and, like most Wigan fans, we’d like to see players coming in, and keep hold of our better players.”