Everton have emerged as the favourites to sign Preston North End striker David Nugent after Sunderland decided to withdraw their offer for the England international.

The Black Cats agreed a substantial undisclosed fee with the Championship side for the former Bury forward over a month ago, but will now look elsewhere to strengthen their squad.

Chief executive Peter Walker told Sunderland's official website: "I can confirm that we've withdrawn our offer for the player.

"Naturally, work continues behind the scenes to strengthen our squad ahead of the new season and talks are on-going with a number of targets."