By Pete O'Rourke

29th Jan, 2020 | 11:16am

Exclusive: Sunderland in driving seat to sign PL giants ace with 7 senior apps

Sunderland lead the chase to sign Man United midfielder James Garner, Football Insider can reveal.

The League One big hitters have turned their attention to landing the Premier League giants’ rising star after failing to land other central midfield targets.

A Sunderland source has told Football Insider that the club have held discussions with United over signing Garner, 18, on loan for the rest of the season.

Manager Ole-Gunnar Solskjaer is ready to let the teenage ace move out for a temporary spell despite the depleted state of his team’s midfield.

Garner – who trained with the United first team on Tuesday – is regarded as a huge talent capable of eventually establishing himself as a regular at his parent club.

Solskjaer and his coaching staff want him to get regular game time at senior level and are keen for him to join an EFL club.

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He made his senior debut at Crystal Palace last season and started in three of their six Europa League group games this campaign.

Capped by England at Under-19 level, the teenager has already made seven United first-team appearances.

He returned from injury for the Under-23s on January 10 but has not been involved with the United senior side since their 3-0 League Cup win against Colchester United in the middle of last month.

It is a measure of Garner’s precocity that he has already been named on the bench six times for Premier League matches.

In other Sunderland news, it can be REVEALED that the club have offered Will Grigg in part-exchange for a player top of Parkinson’s wanted list.