Sunderland hoping to make Arsenal defender their first summer signing

Sunderland are closing in on the signing of Arsenal defender Daniel Ballard.

Ballard is in advanced talks with the club over a move to the Stadium of Light, which would represent a significant investment as the club kickstart their summer recruitment.

The 22-year-old had been expected to sign for Burnley last week but the move broke down in its final stages. While not yet completed, it looks increasingly likely that Sunderland will be able to take advantage.

Capped 15 times already by Northern Ireland, Ballard has plenty of potential but already boasts Championship experience.

Daniel Ballard has a successful loan at Millwall last season

The central defender played 31 times on loan at Millwall last season, having won League One promotion via the play-offs alongside Elliot Embleton at Blackpool the season previous.

The move would bolster Sunderland’s currently threadbare central defensive options, with Bailey Wright likely to give the club another boost in signing a new deal when he returns from international duty.