MIDDLESBROUGH are closing in on a permanent deal for Danny Graham after Sunderland indicated they are willing to sell the striker for a cut-price fee.
The Black Cats are looking to offload Graham for as little as £1m, despite paying £5m for the striker 18 months ago.
The Gateshead-born front man spent the second half of last season on loan at the Riverside and Boro head coach Aitor Karanka revealed last week that he was keeping an eye on Graham’s situation at the Stadium of Light.
Karanka is in the market for a striker having sold Marvin Emnes to Swansea City and there are also questions marks over Lukas Jutkiewicz’s future with several Championship clubs interested.
Graham scored six times on his return to Teesside and it is understood the player is keen to stay in the North-East despite interest from former club Watford. A deal will most likely depend on Graham accepting a wage cut.
Meanwhile, Karanka has revealed injured duo Rhys Williams and Mustapha Carayol may not be fit until the start of next year.
There were suggestions Williams could return quicker than anticipated before the start of the new season, but the Boro head coach revealed it will be a few more months before the Australian is ready to return.
The 25-year-old ruptured his Achilles during Boro’s 0-0 draw with Wigan in January, which meant he missed out on Australia’s World Cup squad for the second time after he was ruled out of South Africa 2010 with a pelvic injury. Carayol tore his cruciate ligament at Bournemouth in March.
“I prefer to think about January or February and if they are in November or December that's better for me,” Karanka said.
Kei Kamara returned to pre-season training with the rest of the squad last week, despite accusing the club of not supporting him during a recent bout of malaria.
The striker became ill while on holiday and took to Twitter to make claims that the Teessiders didn’t help him. Kamara’s future is in doubt having rarely featured in the second half of last season, but Karanka revealed the issue with the Sierra Leone international had been resolved.
He said: “He's training very well, as are all the players in the team and I think his sickness is over. He's in a good mood and it's important for me to train every day with all the players.”