MANCHESTER City boss Kevin Keegan hopes to complete the £2.5million signing of Claudio Reyna by Monday to have him available for the Uefa Cup.
Former Newcastle manager Keegan says the Sunderland midfielder – due in Manchester for a medical today – will prove "an invaluable influence" to younger players in his squad after beating Fulham to his signature.
And the Black Cats have denied Fulham's claims that they accepted a higher bid from City than the price previously agreed with the Londoners.
Keegan is delighted to be close to the 30-year-old's capture.
He said: "Claudio will be with us for a medical on Friday. I hope to get him registered by Monday, so that he will be able to for the next round of the Uefa Cup.
"He gives me options in several positions, he can play right back or in midfield and he brings with him a wealth of experience.
"He will prove an invaluable influence for our younger players as well."
Fulham had lined up Reyna as a replacement for Sean Davis, who had agreed a 5.5million move to Everton. Despite the Davis move collapsing due to a knee injury, Fulham said they remained keen on Reyna, who passed a medical at Loftus Road earlier this week, and pointed the finger at Sunderland, claiming the Wearsiders had accepted a higher offer from City.
However, Sunderland say they were forced to talk to City because Fulham shifted the goalposts on the deal.
A Sunderland spokesperson said: "The club can confirm that after agreeing a 2.5million fee with Fulham Football Club that elements of the transfer deal were then altered at the final stage, which Sunderland could not accept."