L1 latest: Sunderland's January interest in £6m-rated Peterborough striker confirmed as Black Cats chairman makes ownership admission and Crewe eye triallist move ahead of Portsmouth visit

As Pompey begin their search for head of football operations Roberto Gagliardi’s replacement, there’s plenty of other eye-catching headlines emerging from their League One rivals.

By Pepe Lacey and Mark McMahon
Tuesday, 15th February 2022, 5:30 pm

Here’s the latest top stories from around the division.

Peterborough owner confirms Sunderland interest in striker

Peterborough chairman Darragh MacAnthony has revealed that Sunderland wanted to bring in Posh striker Jonson Clarke-Harris last month.

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According to the London Road chief, former Black Cats boss Lee Johnson was keen to sign the ex-Bristol Rovers forward in a bid to boost his side’s promotion chances.

However, no move materialised for the 27-year-old who had a £6m price tag placed on him last summer

Johnson was sacked on deadline day, while Sunderland brought in Jermain Defoe on a free transfer.

Revealing Sunderland’s interest via Twitter, MacAnthony said: ‘LJ wanted him, yep. That’s the truth.’

Kyril Louis-Dreyfus, chairman of Sunderland Picture: Justin Setterfield/Getty Images

Sunderland chairman admits minority stake in club

Sunderland chairman Kyril Louis-Dreyfus has admitted he does not own a majority of the club’s shares.

A club statement to supporters confirmed the 25-year-old owns just 41 per cent, with previous ownership group – comprising Stewart Donald, Juan Sartori and Charlie Methven – retaining a 59-per-cent stake between them.

The Swiss businessman, who completed his takeover of the club in February 2021, has only ever stated he has a ‘controlling stake’ in Sunderland.

Peterborough owner Darragh MacAnthony confirmed that Sunderland were interested in striker Jonson Clarke-Harris.

However, it was never known that Louis-Dreyfus owned less than a majority shareholding.

Ahead of a meeting with supporters on Wednesday, he wrote: ‘As previously stated, I have executive control of the running of the football club – something that was a fundamental requirement upon the purchase of my shares – and the executive management team inclusive of Steve Davison and Kristjaan Speakman report directly into me on a day-to-day basis.

‘All major strategic decisions relating to the running of the club continue to be taken by the Board of Directors, compromising of myself, Maurice Louis-Dreyfus, David Jones, Steve Davison, Igor Levin, Patrick Treuer, Juan Sartori and Simon Vumbaca.’

Sunderland fans are understandably unhappy with the development.

Rotherham eye permanent deal for striker

Championship-bound Rotherham are planning on making a permanent move for on-loan striker Will Grigg in the summer.

The 30-year-old is out of contract at Sunderland at the end of the season and boss Paul Warne is keen to bring the ex-Northern Ireland international in on a permanent basis.

Grigg has played a key part in league-leaders Rotherham’s promotion push, with the striker scoring six times in 28 outings this campaign.

A hamstring injury, however, is likely to keep him out of action for the next two months.

Speaking to the Rotherham Advertiser about Grigg, Warne said: He’s played a big part in our campaign.

‘We’re now getting to the last stretch where we need our best players, so his absence is a massive blow.

‘He’s good in the dressing room. He’s a calming influence and good around the young players.’

Crewe looking at centre-half on eve of Pompey clash

Struggling Crewe Alexandra are keen to bring in defensive reinforcements ahead of their game against Pompey on Saturday.

On a run of five consecutive League One defeats, the Railwaymen are currently scouring the free-agency market in a bid to strengthen at the back.

Boss David Artell currently has one unnamed out-of-contract centre-back on trial at the club and is weighing up whether to follow up his initial interest with a short-term deal.

However, he knows agreeing a contract might not be so simple, with Crewe already seeing four defenders turn them down.

Speaking to the club’s YouTube channel, Artell said: ‘We’ve made contact with four centre-halves and they’ve all said “thanks but no thanks”.

‘We’ve got one training with us and we’ll see where we get to’.

Crewe, who travel to high-flying Wigan tonight, have conceded eight goals in their past two games.

They are 23rd in the table, above bottom-placed Doncaster only on goal difference.