SUNDERLAND are hopeful that they can complete a move for Will Buckley in time for the winger to be available for the opening day clash at West Brom.
Buckley underwent a medical and discussed personal terms at the Academy of Light yesterday afternoon after Sunderland’s £2.5million offer was accepted by Gus Poyet’s former club Brighton.
Sunderland have until noon tomorrow to register Buckley to ensure he is able to feature in Saturday’s clash at the Hawthorns.
But the Black Cats are confident that they will rubber stamp the move in time and add to Poyet’s relatively thin options against the Baggies.
Buckley’s imminent reunion with Sunderland boss Poyet brings to an end a seven month pursuit by the ex-Brighton manager.
Poyet wanted to bring both Buckley and Liam Bridcutt to the Stadium of Light in the January transfer window, but Sunderland were only able to agree a fee for the latter.
Sunderland have been persistent though and after making a fresh bid over the weekend, new Brighton boss Sami Hyypia has consented to Buckley’s departure.
Poyet has been looking to add pace to Sunderland’s attack this summer and ex-Rochdale man Buckley will fulfil that remit.
Neither are there currently any concerns over his fitness after he has played a full part in Brighton’s pre-season, following a persistent hamstring problem last year.
Crucially, the signing of the 24-year-old will not affect Sunderland’s pursuit of Fabio Borini, with Poyet still confident of signing the Italian, while another central midfielder and defender remain on his wish-list.
Poyet declined to comment on the deal for Buckley, when he was interviewed as part of yesterday’s Premier League launch day, in London.
But he did reiterate that Sunderland are to keep hold of in-demand striker Connor Wickham.
West Ham saw a £4m bid rejected by Sunderland earlier this week, with the Black Cats determined to keep hold of the 21-year-old, despite talks yet to reach a resolution over a new contract.
Sunderland still want to tie Wickham down to a new deal, with only a huge offer likely to tempt the club into selling.
That has reportedly seen the Hammers end their interest in Wickham, who is in the final 12 months of his contract at the Stadium of Light.
Poyet said: “From my point of view, Connor is part of my plans.
“He is a player we want to keep after he a massive part of our miracle last season.