Is Danny Graham destined for a permanent move back to The Championship?

With Liverpool flying high and in with a real chance of winning the Premier League title this term, it feels like a long time ago that Brendan Rodgers steered Swansea into the top flight of English football.

The Liberty Stadium outfit were not given much hope of surviving in the big time in their first stint of Premier League action, but Rodgers’ charges proved the doubters wrong in a spectacular first season.

One of the stars of that 2011-12 campaign for Swansea was undoubtedly Danny Graham, who played his part in the Welsh side captivating footballing audiences with their attacking football and finishing in a very credible 11th place.

The Northern Irish manager left Swansea the following summer to move to Anfield, Michu was signed by new boss Michael Laudrup and it has all been downhill for Graham since.

The Gateshead born striker had been signed the summer before that memorable season in a £3.5 million deal from Watford, having never played top-flight football before.

Despite Graham’s 24 Championship goals the season before for the Vicarage Road outfit, not many believed that the centre forward would be able to get the goals to keep the Swans in the top flight.

However, Graham’s blend of strength in holding the ball up and intelligent movement off it made him a difficult opponent and proved that he was more than capable of excelling at Premier League level.

One of his and Swansea’s most memorable moments from the campaign was a 3-2 victory over Arsenal in January 2012, with Graham netting the winner and sending the home faithful into rapture.

There were murmurings of a potential England call-up, while Graham was adjudged as one of the stars that Swansea would struggle to hold onto if a high-end suitor showed significant interest.

The sheer brilliance of Michu last term and the system that Laudrup deployed limited Graham’s game time, with only ten Premier League starts in the first half of 2012-13.

Danny GrahamThat said, when given a chance the Englishman still continued to score; he also netted against Chelsea in the Capital One Cup semi-finals, which played a role in the Welsh club’s eventual first-ever major trophy.

Graham would not be there to experience the triumph however. Sick of playing second fiddle to the Spaniard, a move to Sunderland followed last January after only 18 months in Wales.

This was tipped to be a shrewd move by the Wearsiders but for some reason it just did not work out at the Stadium of Light for Graham.

A change in management again altered the striker’s chances of playing, with a loan spell at Hull at the start of this season followed by a temporary spell at boyhood club Middlesbrough in the second half of the campaign.

Just how temporary this move is remains to be seen. With Gus Poyet now in charge at Sunderland and the likes of Connor Wickham excelling, it is unclear if Graham has a future at the club.

Five goals in 17 Championship games could well be enough to see Boro look to seal a permanent switch in the summer, but one way or another Graham needs regular game time.

For the time being this does not look like happening in the Premier League, with a regrouping process in the second-tier of English football looking necessary for the burly striker.

By
I am a freelance football journalist from Northern Ireland living in Broome in Western Australia. I have worked for top media outlets such as FourFourTwo, goal.com, Soccerlens, Football Fancast and Here is the City. I am a lifelong and long-suffering Tottenham fan. Follow me on Twitter at @90MinsOnline
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