MARCOS Angeleri could beat Asamoah Gyan to the Stadium of Light exit door, with the Argentine closing in on a return to his homeland.
Angeleri’s former club Estudiantes are ready to end the 29-year-old’s miserable two-year spell on Wearside, with reports in Argentina suggesting the deal could be wrapped up this week.
The protracted switch has moved a step closer after Estudiantes entered into discussions with River Plate over the sale of right-back Gabriel Mercado.
Angeleri, who has spent the last month training with his old employers, is seen as the ideal replacement, with Sunderland more than happy to give the go-ahead for the 29-year-old’s departure.
Both Estudiantes and rivals Independiente have been chasing Angeleri all summer, but the latter are now thought to have cooled their interest in the 29-year-old.
Estudiantes will continue talks with Angeleri this week, but are hopeful of finalising an imminent move – likely to be a season-long loan deal which would cover the final year of the defender’s Sunderland contract.
Sunderland are simply eager to get Angeleri off the books after making just three appearances in red and white since Steve Bruce paid £1.5million to bring the Argentina international to the Stadium of Light.
Continued knee injuries haven’t helped Angeleri’s chances, but even though he is now fully fit after twice going under the knife last summer, Martin O’Neill will happily grant the defender’s wishes of returning home.
Angeleri’s departure would represent another success story in Sunderland’s attempts to lighten the load on their wage bill.
O’Neill allowed nine players to leave Wearside at the end of their contracts this summer, including big earner Craig Gordon, while loan players Nicklas Bendtner, Wayne Bridge and Sotirios Kyrgiakos all returned to their parent clubs.
Midfielder Cristian Riveros completed a permanent switch to Turkish outfit Kayserispor, while George McCartney agreed a two-year deal at West Ham last weekend.
That leaves Angeleri and Asamoah Gyan as the principal out-of-favour players still on Sunderland’s books, although the latter is close to finally sealing his move to Al-Ain.
Reports in the Middle East suggest Gyan could even undergo a medical this weekend ahead of a proposed three-year deal with the United Arab Emirates outfit.
Gyan and Angeleri may not be the last of the departures though.
Carlos Cuellar’s arrival on a free transfer has left Sunderland well-stocked in central defence, with Matt Kilgallon, Titus Bramble and Michael Turner now all vulnerable to the summer sales.
The trio each have only 12 months remaining on their contracts and one of them is likely to be sacrificed in this transfer window.
Likewise, utility man Kieran Richardson is in the final year of his deal and Sunderland are thought to be willing to offload the 27-year-old, with West Ham, QPR and Reading all linked to the former Manchester United player.
Ahmed Elmohamady is another who has interested West Ham, with the Egyptian signalling his desire to play first-team football after failing to start under O’Neill last season.