Danny Graham could still leave Sunderland before the end of the transfer window, with the Black Cats wary of letting the striker leave for nothing next summer.
The futures of both Graham and fellow frontman Steven Fletcher have been uncertain all summer, with the pair in the final 12 months of their contracts at the Stadium of Light.
The departure of Connor Wickham to Crystal Palace has left Dick Advocaat with just three central strikers, albeit the head coach remains keen to add another frontman to his squad.
But it is understood that Sunderland are still open to move Graham on, and he is much more likely to go than Fletcher, who is in line for a place in the starting XI against Norwich City tomorrow.
Sunderland have been making Championship suitors aware of Graham’s availability, although as was the case last summer, the 30-year-old’s Premier League wages remain a hurdle for those interested outside the top flight.
Head coach Advocaat would be happy for Gateshead-born Graham to remain part of the squad if no move materialises, and has told the striker that he will get game-time if he stays at the Stadium of Light.
But with Sunderland in talks over a move to re-sign Fabio Borini and Advocaat still hopeful of bringing in a targetman, Graham’s opportunities are likely to be limited.
Graham’s exit would also help Sunderland lighten the load on their wage bill to comply with Premier League regulations.
The Black Cats have brought in five new players this summer, yet have been so far unable to offload the likes of Will Buckley, Liam Bridcutt, Valentin Roberge and Charis Mavrias.