CARDIFF City have won the battle to sign Fraizer Campbell – unless there is a last-minute glitch in the deal.
The Bluebirds emerged as surprise bidders for the Sunderland striker this week, hoping to thwart Hull City’s long-standing interest in the ex-Manchester United striker.
And they have made such swift progress that they are now in the driving seat when it comes to what the player does next.
Former Sunderland manager Steve Bruce signed Campbell in the summer of 2009 and, now in charge of Hull, he would love to renew acquaintances.
The striker joined from Manchester United in an initial £3.5m deal, but never fulfilled his rich potential after suffering two career-threatening cruciate ligament injuries during his time at the Stadium of Light.
With Martin O’Neill rebuilding and prepared to cut one player from the wage bill as he looks to bring in another, Campbell has emerged as available, and table-topping Championship side Cardiff have wasted no time in pushing home their interest.
Hull’s room for manoeuvre in the transfer market is limited following the £1.5 signing of Sunderland midfielder David Meyler at the start of the month.
But they would still have been able to afford the £600,000 asking price for Campbell, who is out of contract in the summer and could leave for free.
Hull had been hoping that a softly-softly approach would see long-term target Campbell be allowed to join either on loan or permanently this month, and the striker’s agent indicated that he would not be against a move to Humberside.
But Cardiff’s firm interest has changed all that. The Welsh club are in pole position to be promoted to the Premier League in a few months time and crucially they are much, much closer to being able to match wage demands in the region of £30,000.
If the deal happens, it will mean Sunderland have off-loaded three strikers in the opening fortnight of the January transfer window – summer Bosman signing Louis Saha being told he is free to leave, Ji Dong-won going on loan to Bundesliga outfit Augsburg and Campbell all but out of the door.
With O’Neill now down to just three strikers, the need for reinforcements is compelling.
Danny Graham at Swansea is obviously on Sunderland’s list but he isn’t the only striker the club have been looking at.