Sunderland failed in a deadline day attempt to sign Jonson Clarke-Harris from League One rivals Coventry City, according to The Coventry Telegraph.
Coventry manager Mark Robins revealed (via The Coventry Telegraph): “I was told Portsmouth and Sunderland were going to make a bid.”
Robins also revealed that Fleetwood Town were interested in Clarke-Harris before he completed a switch to Bristol Rovers.
Sunderland had eyed the 24-year-old as a late January replacement for Josh Maja and Jerome Sinclair, who had departed for different reasons.
Maja left Sunderland to join Bordeaux on a permanent deal, while Sinclair’s loan was terminated due to a lack of success at The Stadium of Light.
Clarke-Harris had scored six goals in 29 games for the Sky Blues after making his deal permanent last summer. And that included a second-half equaliser against Sunderland back in September.
The ex-Rotherham United striker is a handful and he provides a physical presence but his goal scoring record is below the standard Sunderland need for a promotion push.
Instead, the Black Cats snapped up promising youngster Kazaiah Sterling from Tottenham Hotspur and Wigan Athletic striker Will Grigg.
Jack Ross covered all bases; Sterling is an unproven quantity who is low risk on loan, while Grigg is a proven finisher at League One level.
With Charlie Wyke, Sunderland also have a target man option so Clarke-Harris would have been a less exciting arrival. Sterling and Grigg were better choices for Sunderland in the end.