SHREWSBURY TOWN are currently leading the race to land Sunderland striker Will Grigg on loan – but the financial practicalities of the deal will require some difficult negotiating ahead of Monday’s transfer deadline.

Lee Johnson is ready to let Grigg leave Wearside for the second half of the season in order to free up some room on the wage bill for additions of his own.

Shrewsbury came close to signing the Northern Ireland international on deadline day last January, only for a proposed deal to collapse, but Steve Cotterill is keen to push through a new agreement ahead of Monday night’s deadline.

The Shrews boss is currently recuperating after a Covid infection, but is overseeing business from his position in isolation and has made Grigg his number one target.

MK Dons have shelved an interest in the 29-year-old, who joined Sunderland in a £3m move from Wigan Athletic two years ago, but League Two promotion hopefuls Salford City are currently rivalling Shrewsbury for the forward’s signature.

Neither side is in a position to pay Grigg’s wages in full for the second half of the season, so Sunderland will be asked to agree to a compromise agreement that sees them continue to fund a portion of the forward’s pay packet while he plays elsewhere.

Understandably, Black Cats officials will attempt to get the best deal possible, so negotiations could well continue right through to deadline day. At this stage, neither Shrewsbury nor Salford are understood to have tabled an offer that would acceptable to the Sunderland hierarchy, although the former are currently regarded as the best-positioned suitors.

Johnson wants to recruit a new attacker of his own this month, and has clearly concluded that Grigg is surplus to requirements.

“I have had discussions with Will, and I think he feels it hasn't gone as well as he'd hoped it would in the last 18 months,” said the Sunderland boss. “If there’s a challenge and a change that suits all parties in the short term, we might have a look at it."

As well as looking to sign a striker, Johnson is also keen to recruit a left-back, with Hibernian’s Josh Doig, Brighton’s Alex Cochrane and AFC Wimbledon’s Paul Osew all under consideration.