DANNY Graham was tipped to complete a loan move to Hull City today after leaving Sunderland’s training camp in Italy yesterday.
The 27-year-old striker has returned home amid talk of him joining the Tigers after an unsuccessful spell on Wearside.
And the fact he has been allowed to return to England instead of continuing on with the Black Cats’ squad to compete in the Barclays Asia Trophy tells its own story.
The Tynesider joined Sunderland from Swansea in January in a £5m deal with the club paying a hefty salary for a striker Martin O’Neill believed would fire Sunderland away from the relegation zone.
In the event he failed to score in 13 games and despite Paolo Di Canio praising Graham’s competitive qualities and backing him to get goals, the head coach is ready to offload the player and look to replace him with another forward next season.
Steve Bruce admitted his interest in the Sunderland forward earlier this week after news leaked out in Hull.
He described Graham as a “very good player” and hopes to sort out a season-long loan deal.
“There’s lots and lots of players and it’s always wrong for me to talk about them, but Graham is someone where there’s been a bit of interest,” he said.
“He hasn’t had the best of times in the North East but he’s a very, very good player.
“Whether it’s possible, who knows?
“It’s something that we’re looking at but we haven’t done anything just yet.”
That looks about to change now that Graham has been allowed to leave the Black Cats’ Italian training camp.
Negotiations will have to be held over the terms of the loan with Hull likely to insist they only pay a portion - if a significant portion - of the striker’s wages.
And Graham, who was successful at Swansea before drawing a blank at Sunderland, is likely to welcome a fresh start and the chance to relaunch his Premier League career.