Sunderland transfer news: How Black Cats beat Middlesbrough and Championship rivals to Leeds United deal
Joe Gelhardt is on the brink of becoming Sunderland's third signing of the January transfer window.
The Black Cats agreed terms with Leeds United late on Thursday, having convinced the striker that his development will be best served by spending the rest of the season on loan at the Stadium of Light.
Sunderland had beaten a number of Championship clubs to agree the deal, with Wigan Athletic and Blackburn Rovers two of many who were interested in the highly-rated youngster. Though the deal will be a straight loan with no option or obligation to buy, it's a significant investment from Sunderland who have committed to covering a large portion of his wages at Elland Road. Positive talks with the player this then meant the deal was able to progress quickly when an agreement with the two clubs was met.
Despite late attempts from Middlesbrough to sign the 20-year-old on Thursday, the deal has continued to move forward overnight and Gelhardt is understood to be currently undergoing a medical at the Academy of Light. Having decided on making the move to Sunderland, the 20-year-old was unmoved by the additional late interest from elsewhere and is said to be relishing the challenge on Wearside.
It represents a major boost for Sunderland and head coach Tony Mowbray, who held talks with Gelhardt this week to outline the role he could play in maintaining the club's promising form. Leeds United believe the Premier League environment on Wearside, and the team's strong attacking play, makes it the perfect destination for him to press his future first-team claims at the club.
Gelhardt will bolster the squad further following the arrival of Isaac Lihadji from Lille on a permanent deal, though Mowbray has warned that given the French winger's limited game time it will be some time before he is fully up to speed.
Sunderland remain active to try and secure another forward if possible before the deadline shuts, and though the uncertainty at Everton means no one is relying on the return of Ellis Simms, it remains to be seen if the imminent arrival of Sean Dyche does spark some movement.