STEPHANE Sessegnon was in the North East today hoping to tie up a £5m move to the Stadium of Light.
Sunderland were holding talks this morning with the player and his representatives in order to put the finishing touches to a deal which will end the 26-year-old’s two-year stay at top French side Paris St Germain and give the Wearsiders their first major breakthrough in the January transfer window.
And the Black Cats are confident that they can now bring to a successful conclusion the ongoing saga of a move which - like the proposed Sulley Muntari loan deal - has left Sunderland fans not knowing whether the club was coming or going in the transfer market.
At the same time as reports were circulating in France and England this morning, for example, confidently insisting Sunderland had abandoned their interest in the Benin international, that any move was dead in the water and that Everton were now closing in on his signature, the player was actually in a County Durham hotel having his breakfast.
And that has been par for the course in a week which has seen the rumour mill go into overdrive in the wake of Darren Bent’s £24m sale to Aston Villa.
Sunderland expect to finalise the signing of the Benin international after agreeing yesterday to meet Paris St Germain’s asking price of near £5m for the player.
The Wearsiders had hoped to get the versatile midfielder on a loan deal but the French club simply refused to do business on a temporary move.
And chairman Niall Quinn and his negotiating team decided in the end to opt for a permanent move in order to ensure they got a player that Steve Bruce is confident will be a big success with Sunderland.
The agreement to make it a permanent deal was the key to PSG reluctantly deciding to cut their losses on a player they paid almost twice as much for two seasons ago and now Sunderland hope to pretty much tie up the deal today.
Sessegnon’s arrival will be a boost to all at Sunderland but Quinn and Bruce have not given up hope of bringing in Sulley Muntari on loan within the next 48 hours too.
Muntari himself hopes his protracted move to Wearside will be completed in the next 24 hours, with the Wearsiders pushing through a loan deal until the end of the season with a view to a permanent move in the summer if the move works out..
The 26-year-old former Portsmouth man reported for training at Inter’s Centro Sportivo Angelo Moratti yesterday, but told reporters: “I am going for training but I hope my move to Sunderland can be completed today or tomorrow.”
Muntari has been left out of the Inter squad for tonight’s Coppa Italia quarter-final against Napoli at the Stadio San Paolo as the club’s look to thrash out a deal but Sunderland are playing a waiting game on other potential targets.
The club can get no value for money in terms of the strikers they have enquired about so far.
And while Steve Bruce is hopeful of bringing in a striker before the transfer deadline, he will not be held to ransom.