Emmanuel Eboue is expected to finalise a short-term deal at Sunderland in the next 24 hours after the ex-Arsenal man’s experience proved sufficiently tempting for Sam Allardyce.
Free agent Eboue has spent more than three weeks training with Sunderland and successfully completed 90 minutes for the Black Cats Under-21s earlier this week.
The right-back has been without a club since leaving Galatasary at the end of last season, with that inevitably prompting reservations about the trialist’s fitness levels.
But Allardyce believes Eboue has sufficiently improved his conditioning during his time at the Academy of Light and has offered the 32-year-old a contract until the end of the season, which is on the verge of being rubber-stamped.
Allardyce said: “We will give him a deal until the end of the season, if we can sort it out.
“He has got a lot of experience and has played football at the highest level, particularly in this country.
“We think we can get him fit enough, he has already got 50-60% fitter since he has been with us.
“He is a bit short on game practice, so he has to be careful there, but from an experience point of view he could be a key element.”
Allardyce offered Eboue a chance to earn a Sunderland contract after failing in his attempts to land a new right-back during the January transfer window.
The Sunderland boss was in the stands at Eppleton CW on Monday night to see Eboue’s outing for the U21s, and has been impressed by the ex-Ivory Coast international’s presence, character and organisational abilities.
“This guy is a terrific talker. Having that experience and ability to communicate verbally is quite rare these days,” said Allardyce.
“You find players like that less and less over the last couple of years.
“Whether that’s because there’s lots of languages now, I don’t know.
“But this guy is a very good communicator in terms of knowing the game.
“I watched him the other night talking to the younger players and saying ‘get in here, give me the ball’.
“When you think of a man with such a career playing in an U21 game at Eppleton on an ice-cold evening with the wind blowing, it was a real show of his character and application.
“It shows that he just wants to continue playing football, and hopefully it will be at Sunderland.”