NORWICH City have emerged as serious candidates to sign Sunderland target Danny Graham after lodging a £5m bid with Swansea City yesterday.
The Black Cats appeared confident of signing the striker, but the Canaries have upped the ante over their top target, former Middlesbrough, Carlisle United and Darlington player Graham.
Earlier this week Martin O’Neill told the media: “I would certainly want more people in before we would even think about letting anyone else out.”
Since then, it has emerged that Louis Saha has been told he can find another club – though not immediately – and Matt Kilgallon appeared to let the cat out of the bag about Fraizer Campbell’s future.
The out-of-contract forward has been linked with old club Hull City, but team-mate Kilgallon ended a message to Campbell on social networking site Instagram with the words “Good luck at Cardiff pal.”
Swansea are prepared to sell Graham, who does not fit into manager Michael Laudrup’s plans, but not before signing a replacement. Besides, they have a League Cup semi-final second leg at home to Chelsea on Wednesday, where they will defend a 2-0 lead.
It means Sunderland should have time to evaluate whether to match or better Norwich’s offer having bid themselves yesterday.
They are stuck in a transfer chain, with former striker Kenwyne Jones appearing to be the blockage.
Jones is the striker Swansea want, but they had a £3m bid turned down by Stoke this week. The Potters want £5m for a player who cost £8m from Sunderland in 2010.
The Trinidad and Tobago international is unable to play in the League Cup, having already appeared and scored in it for Stoke – the first of five goals this season, the rest coming since mid-December.
Only Stoke, QPR, Aston Villa and Wigan have scored less Premier League goals than Sunderland and Norwich’s 24 this season.
Manchester City’s John Guidetti is another Sunderland have been linked with, but Spanish sides Malaga and Sevilla have emerged as favourites to sign the 20-year-old Sweden international on loan.
Saha was spotted at OR Tambo Airport in South Africa, prompting rumours he could join Mamelodi Sundowns. The veteran striker has not started a Premier League game for the Black Cats this season.
As with Swansea and Graham, Sunderland are unlikely to let Saha leave until landing a replacement.
Defender Blair Adams has made his loan at League One side Coventry City permanent. Adams has made 15 Sky Blues appearances since joining in November.
Not regarded as a senior player, the 21-year-old’s sale does not contradict O’Neill’s comments about no more players leaving before any are signed, and is partly offset by Ahmed Elmohamady’s return.
Sunderland have recalled the Egyptian from his season-long loan at Hull. The move is probably part bargaining tool – they did the same with David Meyler shortly before selling him to Steve Bruce’s Tigers – and part necessity.
Sunderland’s only specialist right-back, Phil Bardsley, has been unable to rediscover his best form since recovering from the injury which kept him out of pre-season.
With defenders Danny Rose, Carlos Cuellar and Wes Brown injured, they are particularly short of defensive cover, even after the loan signing of Kader Mangane.
Elmohamady can play right-back, although he has impressed as a right-sided midfielder in East Yorkshire.
Sunderland named only six substitutes for both their FA Cup games against Bolton Wanderers. Seven are permitted.
It would be a big surprise if Elmohamady was still at Sunderland when the transfer window closes at 11pm on January 31.
Meanwhile, the club will travel to Hong Kong next pre-season to play in the Asia Trophy.
Manchester City, Tottenham Hotspur and South China FC are the other teams in the tournament, which runs from July 24-27.