Aiden McGeady expected to be Simon Grayson's first signing as Sunderland boss
Everton winger Aiden McGeady is expected to be Simon Grayson's first signing as Sunderland manager after the former Lilywhites boss was unveiled as David Moyes' successor on Thursday.
Grayson takes over as Black Cats boss following an 11th place finish with Preston last season. The 47-year-old has a strong history of recruiting Irish players, with six on his Preston squad last season, with McGeady now believed to be his first transfer target as Sunderland boss.
The Ireland international was a revelation last season while on loan at Preston, scoring eight goals and providing nine assists in 34 matches, after playing just 13 games the previous season while on loan at Sheffield Wednesday.
The 31-year-old has one year remaining on his Everton contract with Toffees boss Ronald Koeman understood to be looking to offload the former Celtic star given his high wages and the competition at his position at Everton.
Grayson is expected to also have a larger transfer budget at the Stadium of Light than he enjoyed at Deepdale, where he bought the likes of Daryl Horgan, Andy Boyle and Seanie Maguire from the League of Ireland.
The former Leeds manager was highly sought after by Sunderland’s chief executive Martin Bain, who has high hopes that his new manager will be able to bring his knowledge and experience of dealing in a Championship transfer market to the club.
Speaking about Grayson's appointment, Bain said that the former Leicester City defender's passion and enthusiasm for the job was what separated him from the other candidates.
“We warmly welcome Simon to Sunderland,” said Bain.
“From the outset he demonstrated a tremendous enthusiasm for the job and his desire and ambition to make this football club better shone through.”
He continued: “Wherever he has managed, he has improved those clubs, which is a clear indication of his ability to build a team on solid foundations and create the right environment for success, and these are certainly attributes that we as a football club want to embrace as we embark on our own re-building process with him at the helm.
“Finally, in welcoming Simon, I would also like to extend my thanks to the chairman and board of Preston North End.
“I know they were understandably keen to retain his services and we thank them for their cooperation during the discussion process.”