Speaking to the Sunderland Echo, Simon Grayson has revealed that Max Gradel turned down the opportunity to join Sunderland, opting to return to France instead.
Gradel’s opportunities at AFC Bournemouth were looking limited heading into the new season, and the winger has opted for a move away on-loan, with Toulouse his now confirmed destination.
However, Grayson has now revealed that Sunderland had agreed a deal to sign the Ivorian, but he opted to move back to France rather than step back into the Sky Bet Championship – where he previously played for Grayson at Leeds United.
After missing out on Gradel, Grayson was clearly disappointed, he told the Sunderland Echo: “We spoke to Max but he eventually decided to go to France.
“We had agreed something with Bournemouth and he is a good player that I wanted to bring to the club, it showed you where we are with the players we are looking at.
“That would have been a big signing for us.”
Grayson will now turn his attention to other targets between now and the end of the summer, as he looks to bolster his squad, after Sunderland’s impressive start to the season has left them in the Championship’s top-six after three fixtures.
The Black Cats are unbeaten on their Championship return, with five-points from their opening three league fixtures.
A 3-1 victory over Norwich City has been sandwiched between two 1-1 draws with Derby County and Sheffield Wednesday, with Sunderland overcoming a tricky start to the campaign.
Grayson now welcomes his old club Leeds to the Stadium of Light on Saturday, for the Championship’s teatime kick-off.
Missing out on Gradel is a huge blow for Sunderland, with the Ivorian winger possessing the quality that could have helped Grayson in his quest for promotion at the Stadium of Light.
Gradel showed during his time at Leeds, and since then at a higher level, just how impressive he can be.
However, Grayson will not dwell, and it is likely that we will see another player of the same calibre targeted over the coming weeks.
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