JACK RODWELL is expected to be unveiled by Sunderland today after putting the finishing touches to his move to the Stadium of Light.
England international Rodwell was at the Academy of Light yesterday afternoon to undergo a medical and pen a five-year deal with Sunderland and will now become the most expensive central midfielder in the club’s history.
Sunderland agreed a fee - potentially rising to £10million - with Manchester City last week for Rodwell after his agent, who also represents ex-Black Cats midfielder Craig Gardner, held talks with the scores of club interested in the 23-year-old.
More than half of the Premier League, plus Serie A side Napoli, were vying to end Rodwell’s miserable two-year spell at the Etihad, yet Sunderland have emerged victorious in the race for the former Everton man’s signature.
Sunderland boss Gus Poyet, who is still hopeful of landing Liverpool forward Fabio Borini, had confirmed after Saturday’s final pre-season friendly in Portugal that he was confident of several imminent breakthroughs in the transfer market.
And Rodwell will represent the first of those signings, to address Poyet’s eagerness to add a box-to-box midfielder to his options in the middle of the park after losing Gardner, Jack Colback and Ki Sung-Yueng at the end of last season.
“We are looking for a box-to-box midfielder who can give us some goals,” said Poyet last week.
“That’s not an easy one. Midfielders who are scoring goals are quite expensive.”
Rodwell started just seven Premier League games for Man City after enduring an injury-hit spell at the Etihad, following his £12m move from Everton.
The arrival of Frank Lampard at the Etihad on a short-term deal has pushed Rodwell further down the pecking order and City were keen to offload him permanently.
But Sunderland, who are also looking to a complete another loan deal for defender Santiago Vergini, will hope to unlock the huge potential which Rodwell showed after coming through the ranks at Everton.
With Rodwell’s capture imminent, Sunderland are unlikely to make a late move to hijack Cardiff City midfielder Jordon Mutch’s move to QPR.
Sunderland saw a £3.5m bid for Mutch rejected earlier in the summer, with Cardiff looking for a fee in excess of £5m.
And Mutch yesterday underwent a medical at newly-promoted QPR after the Bluebirds accepted a bid of around £6m.
Rodwell’s signing is also expected to hasten Alfred N’Diaye’s departure from the Stadium of Light.
Real Betis are desperate to re-sign N’Diaye, who spent the second half of last season on loan with the Spanish club, and re-entered into talks with Sunderland last week.