By Alex Stevens

Celtic are in pole position to beat bitter rivals Rangers to the signing of Danny Graham, according to a report.

Graham, 30, was released by Sunderland last week and the Scottish giants are both keen to convince the free agent to move to Glasgow.

A number of Championship clubs, including Birmingham, Preston and Wigan, have also been credited with an interest in the striker.

But the Glasgow Evening Times claim Celtic are closing in on Graham and he could be the first signing for new manager Brendan Rodgers.

It is said Graham is keen to reunite with Rodgers after they worked together at Swansea and Watford, and that the player could be open to taking a pay cut on the £35,000 salary that he collected at Sunderland.

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Graham failed to establish himself in the Black Cats team during his four years with the club and spent most of that time out on loan, including at Blackburn in the second half of the 2015-16 season.

Football Insider revealed last month that Rangers boss Mark Warburton is monitoring Graham’s situation and has already made contact with the forward.

Graham finished as top scorer at Watford and Swansea in his first full seasons at the clubs, but struggled to make an impact at Sunderland when he signed for £5million in January 2013.

The striker scored just once for the Black Cats in 42 appearances, but has been able to regularly find his scoring touch while out on loan at Hull, Middlesbrough, Wolves and Blackburn in recent years.

The former England Under-20 international struck seven goals in 18 games at Blackburn, whom he joined on loan in the January transfer window.

Rodgers has made signing a striker a priority this summer as he looks for a worthy partner for Leigh Griffiths who smashed in 40 goals in all competitions this season.

In other Celtic news, the Hoops have finalised a deal for an attacker.