Championship side Sunderland are set to be disappointed in their pursuit of Bournemouth’s Max Gradel, reports The Northern Echo.
The 29-year-old moved to the Vitality Stadium back in 2015 after a successful four-year stint in France with Saint-Etienne, in which time he scored 31 goals and laid on 16 assists in 117 games for the club.
Yet things haven’t quite worked out for the former Leeds man on his return to England, with Gradel mustering just 27 appearances for the Cherries in the last two years, and of his 11 Premier League games last season, none of them were starts.
And having reportedly asked to leave the South Coast outfit earlier this summer, Simon Grayson’s Sunderland were one side reportedly keeping an eye on his situation, although they have recently been dealt a significant and lasting blow in their pursuit of the 29-year-old.
And that’s because Bournemouth boss Howe has all but confirmed the Ivory Coast international as part of his plans for the upcoming season.
He said: ‘His attitude has been so good that we would be very reluctant to lose him.
‘He has had a good pre-season so far. He has trained very well, and is an important part of our squad.
‘We’ve treated him as he deserves to be treated due to his attitude since he came back from injury.’
These comments are sure to come as a blow to Grayson and the Black Cats hierarchy, who have so far added just four new names to their squad for the 2017/18 campaign, yet have seen many exit the Stadium of Light.
And there’s little doubt that Gradel would have brought the attacking intensity and flair that was clearly missing from the North East outfit last term, yet 47-year-old Grayson will have to turn his attentions to other targets now.
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