DANNY Graham’s Sunderland career looks all but over, less than six months after he arrived on Wearside, with the striker joining Premier League newcomers Hull City on loan
Graham flew out to Portugal yesterday to link up with the Tigers at a pre-season training camp, where he underwent a medical and finalised a season-long move to the KC Stadium.
The 28-year-old joined the Black Cats for ï¿½5m from Swansea City on the last day of the January transfer window, making him then-manager Martin O’Neill’s final signing.
But he failed to score in 13 outings for the Black Cats, and new head coach Paolo Di Canio has clearly decided the Gateshead-born former Middlesbrough man does not figure in his plans.
Hull manager Steve Bruce revealed his interest in Graham earlier this week and the player left Sunderland’s training camp in Italy early in order to begin negotiations.
Graham said: “It’s great to come to a club where everybody is on a high after winning promotion and I’ve only heard good things about this club.
“I know I’m coming to a good club with a top manager, a fantastic stadium and some very good players. When the chance came to sign here on loan, I jumped at it.”
Graham’s departure is no real surprise, with Di Canio having undertaken a major revamp of his squad this summer.
Nine new players have already arrived at the club, with at least two more – right-back Gino Peruzzi, who is on the verge of signing, in addition to an as-yet unspecified left-back – also expected to join.
Among the new recruits already in place is USA international striker Jozy Altidore, who cost ï¿½6m when he joined from Dutch side AZ Alkmaar earlier this month.
Altidore – who scored 31 goals in the Dutch league last season – is the man Di Canio wants to partner Scotland international Steven Fletcher next term.
Sunderland do have other attacking options, with Stï¿½phane Sessï¿½gnon, England Under 21 international Connor Wickham and South Korean Ji Dong-Won all vying for places.
But both Ji and Sessï¿½gnon have been linked with moves over the summer, and if either or both do depart, Di Canio will have to find replacements to avoid going into the season with a shortage of cover.
Another January arrival, French midfielder Alfred N’Diaye, has also been linked with a move back to Turkey with the Black Cats understood to have received an offer for the 23-year-old.
N’Diaye joined Sunderland for around ï¿½4m from Turkish side Bursaspor, and his former employers are believed to be among a clutch of clubs to have shown interest.
Sunderland are understood to be considering the situation, but at this stage no decision has been taken over whether N’Diaye will be allowed to leave.
Meanwhile, ex-Sunderland striker Asamoah Gyan has insisted he has no regrets at leaving the Black Cats to join United Arab Emirates side Al-Ain.
The sudden departure of the Ghana international still rankles on Wearside, two years after he left the club in the lurch by agitating for a move when the English summer transfer window had already closed.
Gyan initially joined Al-Ain on a season-long loan, with the deal made permanent last summer.
The 27-year-old made much of the ‘challenge’ of playing for Al-Ain, but most observers believe the opportunity to quadruple his salary was the major factor.
But Gyan says he is happy with his decision. “I don’t regret quitting the English Premier League at all,” he said.
“I am comfortable and happy there, and most importantly I deliver when I come to the Black Stars [Ghana]. My decision to move to the Arab world bordered on my family and what was good for me and not what people said or will say.”