SUNDERLAND face a battle to sign Swansea City’s Danny Graham with QPR, Reading and Norwich also considering bids for the Gateshead-born striker.
The Black Cats yesterday made a formal offer for the £5m-rated front-man in the wake of Swansea making an offer to Stoke City for former Sunderland striker Kenwyne Jones
And Sunderland are keen to wrap up a move for the 27-year-old who has fallen out of favour at the Liberty Stadium since the arrival of new boss Michael Laudrup.
But sources in Swansea suggest Sunderland aren’t the only one ready to make an offer for a player who is in danger of unexpectedly becoming hot property.
Newcastle United have been linked with the striker, who grew up a Magpies fan, but they are not interested in making a bid and it looks like QPR who will make all the running for Graham.
Rangers manager Harry Redknapp has already pulled off one coup this month – beating Newcastle to sign their main transfer target Loic Remy in an £8m deal.
And it is QPR who look as though they will be Sunderland’s main opposition for Graham’s signature, although Norwich City are looking for a partner/replacement for key man Grant Holt and Reading would love to have the powerful front-man in their ranks as they bid to escape relegation.
Martin O’Neill sees Graham as direct cover for Steven Fletcher, though he wouldn’t rule out the two playing together. But should anything happen to the £12m former Wolves striker, O’Neill fears the worse.
Stephane Sessegnon is a bag of skills but his goal record does not match his ability, and Connor Wickham is similarly unprolific in terms of appearances made and goals netted.
Graham would also fit in with Sunderland’s plans to add greater power and presence to a squad which the manager has acknowledged is in danger of looking lightweight.
And one thing which could stand in their favour though is the belief that Graham himself favours a return to the North East.