LE Havre midfielder El Hadji Ba is set to become Sunderland’s fourth Bosman signing of the summer.
The French Under 20 international confirmed through French newspaper L’Equipe that he has agreed a three-year contract with the Black Cats.
And although there has been no official confirmation from either Sunderland or Le Havre, Ba is expected to be on Wearside next season.
The youngster’s somewhat premature announcement might not have delighted Sunderland – the deal is not thought to be as rubber-stamped just yet, as those of Valentin Roberge, Modibo Diakite and Cabral, which the Black Cats were prepared to confirm this week.
But the deal for Ba is confidently expected to clear its final few bureaucratic hurdles in the next few days and swell, in the process, the number of foreign young players now seeming to arrive on a daily basis.
Ba is a central midfielder, similar in style to his countryman Alfred N’Diaye, who arrived at the Stadium of Light in the January transfer window, and is a highly-rated prospect in his home country.
He faces a challenge at Sunderland and may well start off in Kevin Ball’s U21 development squad.
Ba played his football for French Ligue 2 side Le Havre last season, making only 12 appearances and scoring one goal.
Although his contract is up at Le Havre and he can leave on a Bosman free transfer, compensation will be due to the French club – somewhere in the region of £250,000 – because of Ba’s youth.
Ba’s arrival means that so far, Sunderland have recruited two central defenders – Roberge and Diakite – and two defensive midfielders – Cabral and Ba.