SUNDERLAND hope to conclude the £2.5m signing of Brighton and Hove Albion’s Will Buckley in the next 24 hours, but the winger’s arrival will not signal the end of Gus Poyet’s interest in Fabio Borini.
Buckley was expected at the club’s training base yesterday afternoon to undergo a medical and the Black Cats are hopeful of completing the deal today in order to stave off any late interest from West Brom.
Poyet initially tried to sign Buckley in January, but Brighton were in the midst of a promotion push at the time and did not want to lose one of their key men.
The Seagulls did secure a place in the Championship play-offs only to lose out to Derby County over a two-legged semi-final, and it is understood club chiefs have finally accepted one of their prized assets is destined for a move to the top flight.
Buckley missed Brighton’s Capital One Cup first round win over Cheltenham on Tuesday night and afterwards boss Sami Hyypia confirmed the winger was close to moving away from the Amex Stadium.
Poyet is already well aware of the talent Buckley possesses having worked with the 24-year-old during his reign on the south coast. The Black Cats boss has been in the market for more attacking options this summer, but Buckley’s arrival will not signal the end of Poyet’s pursuit of Borini.
Sunderland’s hopes of landing the Italian appear to be getting thinner by the day, but Poyet is still keen to land the 23-year-old despite the on-going saga surrounding his future.
A £14m deal with Liverpool has been agreed for weeks, but despite the player’s reluctance to commit to a move Poyet refuses to give up hope of having the forward back at the Stadium of Light.
“It is still ongoing. We are still trying,” the Black Cats boss said.
“It is a situation that normally doesn’t happen in football, when you agree a price with the club and there’s a delay in negotiations with the player. Usually, it is the opposite way around and the clubs don’t have an agreement.
“I still think we have a chance. I’m trying my best.”
Whether Borini ends up back on Wearside remains to be seen, but Connor Wickham is expected to stay at the club despite interest from elsewhere.
West Ham United had a £4m bid for the 21-year-old rejected on Monday and it is understood the Hammers will now consider other targets after being told they would have to pay considerably more to land Wickham.
The former Ipswich front man is in Poyet’s plans this season after he played a big part in keeping the club in the Premier League towards the end of last term.
Sunderland get the new season underway at West Brom on Saturday and Poyet has a couple of injury concerns ahead of the trip to the Hawthorns.
Emanuele Giaccherini is definitely out having suffered a muscle injury in the pre-season win over Real Betis last weekend, while Billy Jones, who arrived on a free after leaving the Baggies, is a doubt.
“Billy is very close, touch and go, so there's a big decision to make in terms of when he's going to be ready to play,” Poyet revealed.
“Giaccherini is going to be a few weeks. It's nothing really serious. If we talk about serious injuries in football, you're talking a few months? Not at all. It's just tightness, a stretch.”