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James Hunter

Sunderland transfer target reportedly closing in on a return to his former club

Wigan Athletic are reportedly closing in on a loan deal for Leeds United's Joe Gelhardt - one of several strikers who have been linked with Sunderland this month. Gelhardt has been touted as a potential target for Swansea City, Stoke City, Hull City, and Blackburn Rovers, as well as the Black Cats, but it appears the 20-year-old is set to return to Championship relegation strugglers Wigan, the club where he started his career.

Gelhardt had scored one goal in 21 outings - including two starts - for Wigan in the 2019-20 season, before joining Leeds that summer. He has gone on to score two more goals for Leeds in 41 games in all competitions, again with the majority of those appearances - 32 of them - coming from the bench.

With Ellis Simms having been recalled from his loan spell on Wearside by Everton at the beginning of the month, Sunderland are still determined to bring in at least one striker before the January transfer window closes. They have been linked with a number of targets at various times, including Nottingham Forest's Sam Surridge, Blackpool's Jerry Yates, and Peterborough United's Jonson Clarke-Harris, and Sunderland are also open to the possibility of Simms returning if Everton decide they no longer need him.

READ MORE: 'All-action midfielder' Pierre Ekwah insight as Sunderland target loan move for West Ham star

At the beginning of the month, Sunderland boss Tony Mowbray said the club was looking at bringing in a senior striker on loan, along with a younger option on a permanent deal. But since then there has been very little reliable information, aside from Mowbray saying on several occasions that he is convinced that new players would arrive before the deadline.

Sunderland are also looking at bringing in a midfielder to replace Jay Matete, who has joined League One leaders Plymouth Argyle on loan for the remainder of the season. Reports this week suggest that a loan deal for West Ham's 21-year-old midfielder Pierre Ekwah has been agreed, but as yet there has been no official confirmation.


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