SIMON Mignolet’s £12million move to Liverpool will move a step closer today when the Sunderland keeper arrives on Merseyside for a medical.
Mignolet returned from holiday yesterday with only the formalities of his Sunderland exit to be finalised after the two clubs agreed a fee last weekend.
The Belgian will be assessed by Liverpool’s medical team today and hold talks over personal terms, but there are not expected to be any barriers towards the 24-year-old completing a lucrative move to Anfield.
Mignolet will become the second Sunderland player in two years to join Liverpool in a big-money switch after Jordan Henderson’s £19m move in the summer of 2011.
And like Henderson’s sale, the funds from Mignolet’s departure will be used to re-shape the Black Cats squad, although the former St Truiden man will not be the last boost to Sunderland’s bank balance this summer.
Loanees Ahmed Elmohamady and Ji Dong-won will both complete permanent departures during the close season, with their combined fees expected to exceed £5m.
And Sunderland are prepared to listen to offers for the bulk of their existing squad, including the likes of Stephane Sessegnon and skipper Lee Cattermole – leaving several players in a cloud of uncertainty over their futures on Wearside.
But Mignolet represents the first player to head to the exit door for serious money under Paolo Di Canio, with the club’s on-loan or out-of-contract players the only previous departures during the Italian’s stewardship.
One of those, Titus Bramble, is unlikely to be moving to Ipswich Town though after Tractor Boys boss Mick McCarthy rubbished talk that the 31-year-old had joined the club for the pre-season programme.
Ipswich returned to training yesterday and there had been reports that Bramble would be re-joining his boyhood club on trial.
But ex-Sunderland manager McCarthy claims there has been no contact with Bramble or his representatives, with Ipswich understood to be drastically reducing their wage limit this summer.
“It’s never even crossed my mind,” said McCarthy. “Titus Bramble will have other clubs interested in him, in the Premier League, and I have not spoken to the player or his agent.
“But I can’t say no because that would be a complete lie.
“What if he came here and said ‘Listen, I love living down here and this is where I come from, what’s your budget, what can you offer me?’, and I said ‘£500 a week’ and he said ‘I love it here and I’ll come and play’?
“I might consider it then under those circumstances. So if I said no, I’d be lying.”