SUNDERLAND will complete the signing of England international Jack Rodwell on a five-year deal today after the midfielder completed a successful medical on Wearside.
Rodwell arrived at the club’s training base yesterday afternoon to put pen to paper on a long-term contract after the Black Cats agreed a fee with the reigning Premier League champions.
The move comes after head coach Gus Poyet revealed over the weekend he hoped to add four new faces to his squad by tomorrow, and the Uruguayan has beaten off interest from several Premier League clubs to land the former Everton man. Defender Santiago Vergini is also set to complete his permanent transfer today following last season's loan.
Given the fact Tottenham, Stoke, Southampton, West Ham and Swansea were all monitoring the 23-year-old’s situation at the Etihad Stadium, Rodwell’s move to Wearside is a major coup for Sunderland.
Poyet has been in the market for a central midfielder having lost Jack Colback, Craig Gardner and Ki Sing-Yeung at the end of last season, and Rodwell’s arrival will represent the club’s biggest outlay so far this summer following Patrick van Aanholt’s £1.5m move from Chelsea.
A fee as much as £10m has been reported, although Sunderland remain hopeful of completing a £14m deal for Liverpool striker Fabio Borini and expect to know by the end of today whether he will be returning to the Stadium of Light.
Rodwell’s arrival will certainly ease the pressure on the Black Cats, who until last week had only signed free agents Billy Jones, Jordi Gomez and Costel Pantilimon.
Poyet had been keen on bringing Cardiff City midfielder Jordon Mutch to Wearside, but the Championship club have played hardball over a fee, with QPR now favourites to sign the 22-year-old.
Rodwell has struggled to cement a regular place in Manuel Pellegrini’s side having made just ten appearances for the champions last season, despite signing from Everton two years ago in a deal worth up to £15m.
There are a number of positions Poyet still wants to strengthen, particularly in defence and attack, and work continues to go on behind the scenes to ensure the Black Cats start the campaign with a stronger squad that they finished with in May.
Reports linking the Wearsiders with a move for former Barcelona and Chelsea forward Samuel Eto’o are wide of the mark.
The Black Cats have reportedly made an enquiry to take Palermo’s Abel Hernandez on a year-long loan, but the Italian club are keen to sell the Uruguayan striker.
Poyet could return with a permanent offer, but only if Borini rejects the chance to re-join Sunderland.
West Ham have emerged as potential suitors of Connor Wickham, who is yet to sign a contract extension at the Stadium of Light.