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17th Aug, 2017 | 2:23pm

Aston Villa forward emerges as number one priority for English club - report

By Harvey Byrne

Aston Villa forward Ross McCormack has emerged as the number one target for Sunderland after missing out on Max Gradel, according to a report.

The Sunderland Echo have claimed on their website that a loan move for the 30-year-old Scotsman is the number one priority for the Black Cats after Gradel opted to join French side Toulouse.

Simon Grayson’s side have long been linked with the Villa man, who has not yet played for Steve Bruce’s side this season after spending the second half of the last campaign on loan at Nottingham Forest.

The 13-time Scotland international also fell out with Bruce in January after continually missing training and one of his excuses for doing so was because of his garden gates not unlocking.

It has so far proven to be an unsuccessful year in the Midlands for McCormack despite joining in a £12million deal from Fulham last summer and a move to Sunderland could now be possible.

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Football Insider verdict:

It is clear that McCormack’s days at Aston Villa are numbered after a disagreement with Bruce and a move to Sunderland would certainly look an appealing one. The Black Cats will be aiming to make an instant return to the Premier League this season and they have started well as they sit in sixth place after three matches. However, Villa may also be reluctant to strengthen a direct promotion rival despite their own poor start and if McCormack discovers his previous fine form in the Championship then he can certainly be an asset for Sunderland.

In other Aston Villa transfer news, Leeds also reportedly want to sign McCormack.

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