Wahbi Khazri's future likely to be resolved after the World Cup as Sunderland close in on deals

Jason Steele is on the brink of leaving Sunderland for Brighton, but talks on Wahbi Khazri's future are likely to be delayed until his World Cup participation is over.

Thursday, 21st June 2018, 6:00 am
Updated Tuesday, 26th June 2018, 11:12 am
Wahbi Khazri battles against England's John Stones in Monday's World Cup Group G clash

The Tunisian seems certain to leave the Black Cats this summer, with a queue of clubs interested.

Turkish side Besiktas have been monitoring his availability all summer and reports have suggested that they will soon step up their interest in the 27-year-old.

However, Khazri himself has made clear that he will not be distracted from his nation’s fortunes in Russia.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Tunisia face a tough battle to get out of the group stages after a 2-1 defeat to England on Monday night.

They are next in action against Belgium on Saturday before facing Panama next Thursday.

Khazri’s departure may take a little longer but a number of players, including Steele, are likely to leave soon and the Black Cats are hoping to add four players before the start of pre-season.

Chairman Stewart Donald wrote on twitter: “We have four [deals] 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.”

The Black Cats are close to closing a deal for a centre-back, which would be a welcome boost for Jack Ross after John O’Shea and Marc Wilson were released earlier this summer.

AFC Wimbledon striker Lyle Taylor is a target for Ross, but the former Partick Thistle and Falkirk man 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.

Sunderland will discover their first League One opponents today when the fixtures for the upcoming season are released.

Manager Jack Ross says it will be a moment when reality hits home and admits it is a ‘new challenge’ for the Black Cats.

“Whatever comes will be exciting for me,” said the Scot.

“It’s a totally new challenge, but as a whole club we have to understand we’re a League One club, and that becomes a reality when the fixtures come out.

“There’s probably a freshness with that, though, and although it’s not where the supporters ideally want to be right now, they will be going to stadiums they’ve not been to before.

“In terms of who or where, I’m not bothered where we go because we have to play every team twice at some stage.”

Ross will meet his squad for the first time when they report for pre-season training next Wednesday.

The new League One campaign kicks off on Saturday, August 4.