Turkish defender set to be first Sunderland signing of the summer

Sunderland are close to sealing a deal for defender Alim Ozturk.

Thursday, 21st June 2018, 1:18 pm
Updated Tuesday, 26th June 2018, 11:09 am
Former Hearts defender Alim Ozturk

Ozturk will join on a free transfer after his contract with Turkish side Boluspor comes to an end.

The 25-year-old centre-back, Turkish but born in the Netherlands, is experienced in British football after two-and-a-half years at Hearts of Midlothian.

Former Hearts defender Alim Ozturk

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Ozturk was an immensely popular figure at Tynecastle, a big part in their Scottish Championship title win in his first season. He then took the captain’s armband as the Jambos finished third in the top flight.

His time in the Scottish capital came to a disappointing end, Ozturk losing his place in the team as his contract wound down. He signed for Boluspor on an 18-month contract last January.

He is well known to Jack Ross, who was U20’s manager at Hearts when Ozturk first signed for the club.

Ozturk will kick-start his summer recruitment drive and offer a much needed boost to the defensive ranks.

Sunderland are currently light on options at centre-back after John O’Shea and Marc Wilson were released earlier in the summer.

Lamine Kone also seems certain to leave the club this summer, providing a buyer can be found.

Sunderland are hoping to conclude three further deals in the coming days, with Stewart Donald confirming on twitter that he is negotiating over a central midfielder and two strikers.

Donald said: “We have 4 very close.

“1 CB 1 CM 2 Forwards. Contract done on 1 and the other 3 very close.

“Hoping they will be in over next few days and a few players likely to go the other way.

“Thursday I will update in more detail.”

AFC Wimbledon striker Lyle Taylor is a target for Jack Ross but the striker has a number of suitors as his contract comes to end.

He has been a regular scorer in the lower leagues since joining the Dons in 2015, with 44 goals in 131 appearances.

Reinforcing the Sunderland frontline is key priority this summer.

At the other end of the pitch, Jason Steele is on the brink of completing a switch to Brighton & Hove Albion.