Sunderland sign fans' hate-figure Danny Graham from Swansea

Striker was booed by Black Cats fans this week

Martin Hardy
Wednesday 30 January 2013 22:26
Danny Graham will hope for more first-team opportunities at Sunderland
Danny Graham will hope for more first-team opportunities at Sunderland

Danny Graham will join Sunderland from Swansea for £5m. The 27-year-old centre-forward is expected to sign a three-and-a-half-year contract after the two clubs agreed a fee.

Graham will have a medical – expected to be a formality – at Sunderland's Academy of Light training complex today and is likely to feature at Reading on Saturday.

The Gateshead-born forward is a Newcastle fan and was jeered by Sunderland supporters when he came on as a 75th-minute substitute during Swansea's goalless Premier League draw at the Stadium of Light on Tuesday night over derogatory comments he made about Sunderland in an interview when he was a Watford player.

However, Martin O'Neill believes the switch will not be a problem for a player who has scored 15 Premier League goals in the last two seasons since Swansea were promoted from the Championship. Swansea paid £3.5m to Watford for the striker in June 2011 and he has repaid that with 21 goals in all competitions since he moved to Wales.

A change in management and the arrival of strikers Michu and Itay Shechter have limited his first-team opportunities this season.

Graham has become increasingly frustrated at his lack of regular starting opportunities and he asked to leave the club on Tuesday night. He has been a regular in the Capital One side under Michael Laudrup and the desire to leave will mean he misses out on a Wembley appearance when Swansea play Bradford in the final on 24 February.

Graham's desire to play regularly and his family's desire to move back home to the North-east of England was stronger than the wish to play in a cup final. O'Neill believes the striker will give his side the cutting edge they have lacked for periods this season.

Trio chasing Simpson deal

Stoke City and Reading have joined Wigan Athletic in the race to sign the Newcastle right-back Danny Simpson.

Simpson's contract at St James' Park is due to run out at the end of the season and he has been unable to agree new terms.

Newcastle signed Mathieu Debuchy at the start of the transfer window for £5.5m from Lille and that means Simpson's opportunities would be limited for the remainder of the current campaign.

Martin Hardy

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