Striker is Cats' next target after N'Diaye joins

The Northern Echo: TARGET: Danny Graham TARGET: Danny Graham

HAVING completed his first signing of the January transfer window in Alfred N'Diaye, Sunderland manager Martin O'Neill will now turn his attention to a striker with Swansea City's Danny Graham his preferred choice.

N'Diaye completed his move from Turkish club Bursaspor yesterday after agreeing terms on a three-and-a-half year contract for an undisclosed fee, believed to be around £3.5m.

The 22-year-old sailed through a medical at the club's Academy of Light training ground yesterday after flying into the North-East on Tuesday afternoon.

O'Neill has made no secret of his desire to strengthen his ranks during the winter window and having secured a midfielder the Black Cats boss is now looking to bring in a defender and a striker.

Both appear to be as important as the other, but it appears the club are close to making a bid in the region of £4m for Graham.

The Gateshead-born 27-year-old has fallen down the pecking order at the Liberty Stadium after the arrival of Spanish forward Michu in the summer and although he has scored in their last three games, his first-team opportunities have diminished this season.

The Black Cats face a battle to land his signature, though, with several other Premier League clubs aware of his position and keen to offer him a way out of the Liberty Stadium.

Queens Park Rangers are interested in signing Graham after losing out on Newcastle target Loic Remy, while Norwich City and West Brom are also monitoring his situation.

Graham's name has also been linked with Newcastle - the club he openly supports - but there are players higher on Alan Pardew's list of potential replacements for Demba Ba.

The Black Cats could steal a march on everyone else, though, as the striker has admitted to close friends and family that he would be receptive to a move back to his native North-East.

Swans boss Michael Laudrup failed to rule out the sale of Graham during his press conference to preview last night's Capital One Cup semi-final against Chelsea and it is thought he has already identified Stoke City's Kenwyne Jones as a replacement.

He said: "I haven't heard anything about anyone not being here. Danny is in our squad for the game, of course. Apart from that, I don't want to talk about transfers.

"I know it is January and you will ask me questions all through this month, but I think the game against Chelsea is so important for us that we should not talk about anything apart from Chelsea."

A move for New York Red Bulls star Tim Cahill is extremely unlikely now, so O'Neill will want to get business done as soon as possible with other clubs interested.

The Black Cats boss is also keen on bringing a defender to the club and Hungary international Roland Juhasz, who plays for Belgian champions Anderlecht, has already stated that he would be attracted by a move to Wearside.

For now, though, O'Neill has his midfielder and N'Diaye - who will wear the number four shirt - is expected to go straight into the squad for Saturday's Premier League match against West Ham United at the Stadium of Light.

N'Diaye, a France Under-21 international, arrives on Wearside after 18 months with Bursaspor after joining them from French Ligue One side Nancy, where he started his career and O'Neill reveals he will offer a much-needed physical presence in midfield.

"Alfred is a strong, powerful young player and as such can offer us more strength in depth. He will give us options and I'm delighted that we have been able to bring him to the club," O'Neill told safc.com.

The player added: "I am very happy to sign for Sunderland and get the chance to play in the Premier League; it was my dream when I was young and I'm so happy to be here.

"I watch the Premier League all of the time. I looked at Sunderland many times - it's the best league in the world.

"It's (the Academy of Light) very good, very beautiful, and everybody has been very nice to me. Everything is fantastic.

"Everybody tells me Sunderland fans are crazy, fanatical fans, and with Saturday's game at home, I hope it is possible to play and experience that passion."

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