Date: 18th August 2017 at 12:48pm
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EXCLUSIVE By Pete O’Rourke

Aston Villa striker Ross McCormack is closing in on a loan move to Sunderland after a breakthrough in talks between both clubs, Football Insider sources understand.

Sunderland boss Simon Grayson has made McCormack one of his top targets this summer, but the Black Cats’ transfer budget has made it difficult to do a deal.

Sunderland are unable to afford McCormack on a permanent deal, meaning they have been looking to take the Scotland international on loan.

Villa are ready to let McCormack move on as he does not figure in Steve Bruce’s plans and they will use the funds from his departure to strengthen the squad elsewhere.

Sources have told Football Insider that Sunderland now have the funds in place from the sale to Jermain Lens to pay a proportion of McCormack’s salary which meets Villa’s needs.

Villa are still holding out for a loan fee for McCormack and the two clubs remain in talks to try and resolve this to allow the striker to move to Wearside.

McCormack, who has not featured for Villa this season, has endured a difficult time at Villa Park since his arrival from Fulham last summer, scoring just three goals in 20 Championship games before spending the second half of last season on loan at Nottingham Forest.

Sunderland boss Simon Grayson is a big fan of McCormack having signed him when he was in charge of Leeds and he sees him as an ideal replacement for Jermain Defoe at the Stadium of Light.

In other Aston Villa transfer news, a stunning approach has been made for a playmaker well known to Bruce.

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