Max Gradel was a marquee signing for Bournemouth upon their promotion to the Premier League – but he looks set to be on his way out of Dean Court this summer. The Ivorian, who joined for £7 million from St Etienne in 2015, has made only 23 top-flight appearances for the Cherries after suffering with fitness issues and a loss of form.
A cruciate knee ligament injury, cruelly sustained on his first start, sidelined him for six months. And now it seems boss Eddie Howe is ready to cut his losses by letting Gradel depart at a fraction of the cost.
A report in the Daily Mail claims new Sunderland manager Simon Grayson is interested in bringing the 29-year-old attacking midfielder to the Stadium of Light. Grayson previously worked with the 29-year-old during his time in the Leeds United hot-seat and remains a firm admirer.
Having seen Jordan Pickford leave for £30 million, Sunderland have money to spend as they look to bounce back from relegation at the first attempt. Although Gradel is surplus to requirements at Bournemouth, a player of his pedigree could flourish in the right environment at Championship level.
Gradel made just 11 appearances in all competitions for Bournemouth last season – many of them coming from the substitutes’ bench – as he slipped down the pecking order. Amid rumours of a falling out between the pair, Howe lost faith in the left winger and regularly selected Junior Stanislas or Marc Pugh instead. Gradel has hinted on several occasions that he is looking for regular football and a fresh challenge after becoming disillusioned with life on the south coast.
Reuniting with Grayson would be a tempting prospect for Gradel, whose career at Bournemouth has not turned out the way he had planned. Always a fans’ favourite, he may relish being an influential player for a club of Sunderland’s stature. A bid of around £3 million by the Black Cats could be enough to get a deal done.