SUNDERLAND are closing in on the signing of Brighton and Hove Albion midfielder Liam Bridcutt.

The midfielder is heading to Wearside for a medical with the clubs believed to have agreed a fee of around £3 million.

Bridcutt, 25, put a transfer request in earlier this month and has been a long-standing target of Sunderland manager Gus Poyet having managed him at the Amex Stadium.

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Brighton have allowed the deal to progress after agreeing a fee with Charlton Athletic for midfielder Dale Stephens

Stephens is now expected to open negotiations with the Seagulls with a view to moving south ahead of tomorrow night’s deadline.

Powell said this morning: “Dale has expressed his right to speak to them if the clubs have agreed a deal, which they have.”

Sunderland's move for Bridcutt could open up a path for Stoke City to pursue a deal for Lee Cattermole, who missed Wednesday's win against the Potters with a calf strain.