The latest on Danny Graham interest as Sunderland close in on defender

Phil Parkinson says Sunderland are on the brink of concluding a deal for Arbenit Xhemajli.

The Kosovan defender impressed on trial with the Black Cats and could sign before this weekend’s Carabao Cup clash against Hull City.

The 22-year-old played on the left of a back three during an appearance against Gateshead, but Parkinson says he will bring a versatility to the group.

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“It’s been well documented that we've been speaking to Arbenit Xhemajli and he’s a player we’d like to bring in for many reasons.

Sunderland target Arbenit XhemajliSunderland target Arbenit Xhemajli
Sunderland target Arbenit Xhemajli

“He’s young, has got good quality and play right across the back three or four.

“We’re close to bringing him in and that would be a boost for us, another young player who can strengthen us and add competition.”

Parkinson added that he would still like to add at least two players beyond the arrival of Xhemajli.

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He remains keen on bringing in cover and competition for Denver Hume, as well as a striker.

Former Black Cat Danny Graham is on the radar and has held talks with the club, but Parkinson has maintained throughout that he is one of a few options.

That remains the case, with Parkinson saying there could be further movement next week.

Graham trained with the Black Cats last week and Parkinson was pleased with his conditioning.

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“We need at least three players to come to make us strong enough because we’ve got to be realistic that we almost need two XIs to meet the demand of the midweek games ahead of us this season,” Parkinson said.

"Danny is a player we have spoken to, along with a number of other players in that position.

"He was in last week doing some training with us, and it was important for him to do that and work on his fitness - he's in good shape, and he hasn't stopped playing that long because he was at Blackburn when the Championship season continued.

"There's an interest there, as I've said previously, and we are working on that alongside a couple of other things next week."