GUS Poyet has revealed that impending new signing Santiago Vergini has been a long-term target of his.
The 25-year-old Argentine centre-half’s move from Estudiantes to Sunderland is expected to be confirmed in the next 24 hours, with the Black Cats’ head coach admitting the deal is “very close” now.
And Sunderland fans can rest assured that the 6ft 3in central defender is Poyet’s pick as a reinforcement, rather than an option he has accepted from club’s director of football, Roberto De Fanti.
Poyet has been tracking Vergini for almost a year now and told the Echo: “He’s a player I know well because we were following him last season in case we went up with Brighton.
“I watched him for about six months when he was with Newell’s Old Boys, and the way he plays, understands football and his physical size made me think of him as a potential signing.
“He has played one game for the national team, and he has also been in the squad a few times.
“But, of course, everything happened in the summer, Brighton did not go up and and I left the club.
“However, he is still a player that interests me and now we have the possibility of signing him here at Sunderland.”
Sunderland plan to sign Vergini on a short-term deal until the end of the season, with an option to extend the deal should the Wearsiders stay in the Premier League.
Poyet rates Vergini highly and is delighted that the Black Cats look set to secure him for less than £500,000 from cash-strapped Estudiantes, who need funds urgently.
The player has not settled at his new club since joining them from Argentine champions Newell’s Old Boys last summer and Estudiantes are prepare to let him go to balance the books, with Poyet saying: “We are very close, but it is not yet done.”
Even if Vergini’s move goes through today, his international clearance will almost certainly not be processed in time for him to play at Fulham tomorrow.
One deal that has been done, however, is midfielder Cabral’s loan move to Genoa, with the Italian side having the option to make the move permanent in the summer.
Poyet said: “Cabral has gone and we wish him well.
“It wasn’t working out for him here, and now he has a great opportunity to restart his career at Genoa.”