JI Dong-Won is poised to become Sunderland’s first new signing of the summer, with the Korean’s move expected to be confirmed by the weekend.
The Black Cats are currently in transfer talks on a number of fronts, but, although many of their targets have emerged early in the transfer window, the club is still a long way off from agreeing deals in several cases.
Dong-Won’s signing, though, is simply a case of pushing through the red tape surrounding the deal.
The player himself has already spoken of his desire to do well in the English Premier League while his club, K League side Chunnam Dragons, have accepted the £800,000 move will happen and say they have inserted a clause saying that if the move does not work out then the Dragons get first refusal on their star player.
Once Dong-Won’s paperwork is processed he will officially become a Sunderland player and that work is expected to be done by the end of the week.
It is on the transfer of Dong-Won and Coventry City goalkeeper Keiren Westwood that Sunderland have made most progress.
Westwood’s transfer, like the Korean forward’s, is also a done deal but with the keeper currently on holiday and his contract at the Ricoh Stadium not officially expiring until the end of the month, the keeper’s official signing is not likely to be made until close to the end of the month.
Technically, Egyptian winger Ahmed Elmohahamady became Sunderland’s first summer signing when his year-long loan spell at the Stadium of Light was officially converted into a permanent deal.
But that move had been trailed and confirmed by Steve Bruce for month and the transition was seamless for a player already plying his trade at the Stadium of Light.
Dong-Won should be Sunderland’s first new body in, followed swiftly by Westwood and then Manchester United midfielder Darron Gibson – all players who are keen to come to Sunderland.
Further off are moves for Liverpool’s David Ngog and Manchester United duo Wes Brown and John O’Shea.
All three still need some convincing before agreeing to move to Sunderland, with the biggest question mark over John O’Shea who still feels he has a part to play at Manchester United. If he does have to leave Old Trafford, he would expect there to be plenty of interest from other top clubs in the Premier League.
Sunderland, though, are ready for that fight and will hope to persuade the Irishman that the move from the North West to the North East is the right one for him at this stage of his career.
Meanwhile, the chances of success in the Black Cats’ pursuit of Spurs Peter Crouch are lessening by the day and, unless there’s a significant change of heart by all parties concerned, there’s no chance of the England man moving to Wearside.