No return to Sunderland for long-serving midfielder as Black Cats close in on international winger

Seb Larsson. Picture by Frank Reid.
Seb Larsson. Picture by Frank Reid.
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Seb Larsson will not be returning to Sunderland, it is understood.

The 32-year-old’s contract ran out at the end of last month and the Swedish midfielder’s six-year spell at the Stadium of Light is over.

Former boss David Moyes was minded to give Larsson a new deal along with Sunderland skipper John O’Shea, who has signed a new one-year contract.

But it is understood that Larsson will not be returning to Wearside.

It comes as Sunderland last night completed their first signing of the summer – defender Brendan Galloway on a season-long loan deal from Everton.

The pacy 21-year-old, who can play at left-back or centre-back, will be followed by Everton team-mate Tyias Browning.

Browning has undergone a medical and an announcement is expected imminently, while the club is very close to agreeing a deal for Everton winger Aiden McGeady.

Sunderland are understood to have agreed a fee with Everton and personal terms with Republic of Ireland cap McGeady but the deal is not yet finalised.

Sunderland are reshaping their squad ahead of the Championship campaign under new boss Simon Grayson.

Several senior players, including Jordan Pickford, Jermain Defoe and Fabio Borini, have already left, with more set to depart before the window closes at the end of August.

Larsson, who has Premier League interest from Brighton and has previously spoken of a desire to play at the highest level possible, is one of those to depart.

The Swede suffered a disrupted season, not getting going until December because of a knee operation he underwent in the summer.

He played 23 games for the Black Cats in total last term as they slipped out of the Premier League after a dismal campaign.

Grayson is working round the clock with chief executive Martin Bain to add further new faces, with the striking department the priority.

The Sunderland squad is due back from their Austrian training camp today.

Skipper O’Shea, Jeremain Lens and Didier Ndong returned to training at the Academy of Light yesterday after they were given an extended break due to their international commitments at the end of last season.

Their return is a welcome one for Grayson, but he knows the squad is short on numbers ahead of the first friendly away at Bury tomorrow night (7.30pm kick-off).

“We are short on numbers, we know that,” said Grayson.

“We have a few players back at the training ground that will probably be available for the Hibs game.

“It will be nice to see them and to see what condition they are in and hopefully some new additions which we will hopefully have on board very soon and other players in the coming days and weeks as well.

“It is all about moving forward both on and off the pitch.

“We won’t be the finished article at Bury on Friday, it is about progressing and moving forward on and off the pitch, but so far, with what we’ve done, I am pleased with.”

Meanwhile, it is understood that there is currently no Sunderland interest in Watford midfielder Ben Watson, despite reports that the Black Cats were looking to make a move for the 31-year-old.