SUNDERLAND hope to clinch the signing of Gino Peruzzi today – bringing one right-back into the club just as another prepares to leave.
Argentine defender Peruzzi is on Wearside after flying over from Buenos Aires yesterday.
And the defender is expected to swiftly tie up a £3.3m deal before travelling onwards to Hong Kong to compete in the Barclays Asia Trophy with his new team-mates.
Two officials from his club, Velez Sarsfield, made the trip with him, as Peruzzi arrived to complete a medical and finalise personal terms.
Negotiations now are not expected to be long and drawn out, with agreements fully reached between the two clubs and Peruzzi happy with Sunderland’s improved terms.
Once the deal is agreed, the 21-year-old will become Sunderland’s new first-choice right-back – replacing Phil Bardsley in that role.
Peruzzi’s signing will confirm the end of Bardsley’s five-year stay at the Stadium of Light.
The 28-year-old, a former Sunderland Player of the Season, has been ostracised by head coach Paolo Di Canio since photographs emerged of a late-night casino session in the run-up to the final game of last season at Spurs in May.
Bardsley was fined and dropped for that game, after which he was harshly criticised by Di Canio, and did not travel with the team for their pre-season training camp in Italy.
He will not travel with the squad to Hong Kong this weekend either.
Instead, he played for Sunderland’s Under-21 development side yesterday in a goalless pre-season friendly against Southampton at the Academy of Light.
It has been a chastening experience for the defender, but Fulham are now expected to bring an end his miserable last few months on Wearside.
The Cottagers and Sheffield Wednesday were among the clubs most interested in him.
But the Championship side have now dropped out of the running after realising they could not afford his wages.
Fulham boss Martin Jol, though, will have no problem agreeing a package with the former Manchester United youth player, particularly as the Dutchman knows the unwanted defender will be available at a knock-down price.
With Bardsley clearly not going to play for Sunderland again, the club want him off the books as soon as possible.
And Fulham are expected to capitalise on the situation by agreeing a cut-price deal for a player who has made close to 150 starts for Sunderland since being signed by Roy Keane in January, 2008.