Sunderland not close to signing striker despite Campbell move to Cardiff

FRESH START ... Fraizer Campbell.
FRESH START ... Fraizer Campbell.
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FRAIZER Campbell’s departure from the Stadium of Light is NOT a signal that Sunderland are on the verge of landing a new arrival up front.

Campbell yesterday completed his move to Championship promotion-chasers Cardiff City after penning a three-and-a-half year contract with the Bluebirds for an undisclosed fee, thought to be around the £600,000 mark.

The departure of the England international, coupled with the cancellation of Louis Saha’s contract, leaves Martin O’Neill with just three available strikers – top scorer Steven Fletcher, Connor Wickham and Stephane Sessegnon.

But while Sunderland are confident of boosting their attacking ranks before the January 31 transfer deadline, there is no imminent deal in the pipeline.

Swansea’s Danny Graham remains O’Neill’s No1 target, yet the move depends upon the Welsh side reaching an agreement with Stoke City for former Sunderland striker Kenwyne Jones as a replacement.

And SportMail understands Sunderland will not be making a move for former Birmingham forward Mauro Zarate despite weekend reports linking the Argentine with a loan switch from Italian outfit Lazio.

While Sunderland would have preferred to keep hold of Campbell until a replacement was secured, the chance to recoup a fee for the 25-year-old, plus remove his £30,000 a week wages from the balance sheet, proved sufficiently tempting for the Black Cats.

Campbell, who has joined Cardiff at their week-long training camp in Dubai, was out-of-contract in the summer and would not have been offered a new deal.

Ex-Sunderland boss Steve Bruce was keen to take him on loan at Hull City and while that was a proposition the Black Cats would have considered, Cardiff swept away the Tigers’ interest and hastened his departure from Wearside.

“I’ve not played much football this season, so to get a fresh start at such an ambitious club as Cardiff is great for me,” said Campbell.

“I can’t wait to get back doing what I love.

“Adam (Johnson) was at Watford on loan in 2007 and he knows the manager (Malky Mackay) from his time there.

“I asked Adam about the move and he told me what a good man the manager was. “Hearing those sorts of things makes moving to a new club even easier and having spoken to the manager I knew that this was the right move for me.”

Campbell’s move to the Championship leaders marks a whirlwind 12 months for the former Manchester United man.

Last January, he returned from 17 months on the sidelines with knee ligament damage to score in each of his first two games back in a red and white shirt before earning a surprise England debut under caretaker boss Stuart Pearce.

But Campbell subsequently struggled and after starting the opening game of this season at Arsenal, he was limited to a substitute’s role, with his only goal of the campaign coming in December’s defeat at Manchester United.

Campbell added: “I’d love to represent my country further and by performing week-in, week-out in that division is how you do that.

“It’s not on my agenda right now in all honesty though as we’ve got a lot of work left to do this season if we are to achieve our ambition of promotion in May.”