JACK RODWELL finally severed his ties with Sunderland yesterday, and another of the club’s high earners could head through the exit door in the next couple of days with the Black Cats having agreed a fee with French side St Etienne for Wahbi Khazri.

The Northern Echo:

Khazri’s World Cup involvement with Tunisia will come to an end this evening, and the winger is keen to resolve his future as quickly as possible so he can begin to plan for next season.

A number of Ligue 1 clubs have expressed an interest in acquiring his services this summer, but St Etienne are the first to have tabled an offer that has been deemed acceptable at the Stadium of Light.

The size of St Etienne’s bid has not been revealed, but Sunderland’s new owners turned down a bid of around €6m earlier this month.

Sunderland shelled out £9m to sign Khazri from Bordeaux in January 2016, and there is an acceptance they will be unable to recoup the whole of that sum. However, removing Khazri’s considerable wages from the balance sheet will be another major step forward as Stewart Donald attempts to start balancing the books.

The French media claim Khazri has indicated he is willing to move to St Etienne, although it remains to be seen whether the events of the last 24 hours persuade the likes of Lyon, Marseille or Nice to come back with a counter-offer of their own.

Meanwhile, Sunderland continue to move for targets of their own, and are set to step up their interest in former Hartlepool defender Jack Baldwin after Clark Robertson opted to move to Rotherham instead of the Stadium of Light.


Real Sociedad’s head coach has confirmed that the La Liga club are close to finalising the signing of Newcastle midfielder Mikel Merino.

Real Sociedad are set to trigger a release clause in Merino’s contract which is set at around €12m, with the 22-year-old expected to sign a five-year contract.

Magpies manager Rafael Benitez had been keen to keep Merino this summer, but the Spaniard’s desire to return to his homeland has made it impossible for Newcastle to persuade him to stay.

The existence of a release clause was always going to make it difficult for the Magpies, with Merino having grown frustrated at his lack of game time at Gallowgate last season.

The Northern Echo:

When asked whether the deal for Merino was done, Real Sociedad head coach Asier Garitano told Radio Euskadi: “Until it becomes official, no, and I think is still has not been finalised.

“He’s someone I’ve known for many years, when we played against Osasuna with Leganes in the Segunda Division.

“It could be a good signing for us. He has been at important clubs like Borussia Dortmund and Newcastle – and, at the age of 21 (sic), he has a great future ahead of him. We hope it can be completed.”


Middlesbrough’s players flew to Austria for a pre-season training camp yesterday, with new signings Aden Flint and Paddy McNair fully integrated into the fold.

The pair were confirmed as Boro players this week, with Flint having joined in a £6m move from Bristol City and McNair having made a £5m switch from Sunderland.

Tony Pulis will be delighted to have two of his key summer targets in place at such an early stage of the transfer window, with both players boasting extensive experience of the Championship.

Flint’s arrival has led to increased speculation over the future of Ben Gibson, with Everton and Southampton once again having been linked with the Teessider in a number of national media outlets this morning.

The Northern Echo:

Everton are known to have had an interest in Gibson for a number of years, and there is a strong chance the Goodison Park club will make a formal approach for the centre-half at some stage this summer.

However, new Everton boss Marco Silva is still in a position where he has to move players off the existing wage bill first.

That hasn’t happened yet, although there could be movement on that front later today, with Wayne Rooney expected to leave Everton to join MLS side DC United.


Former England Under-21s goalkeeper Lee Grant could be snapped up by Manchester United as their new number three behind David de Gea and Sergio Romero, the Daily Telegraph reports.

The Stoke player is being tipped to replace last season's third choice Joel Pereira, 22, who is expected to go out on loan.

Grant, 35, would join United on a free transfer and most likely sign a one-year contract, the paper adds.

Marouane Fellaini looks set to make a U-turn and sign a new two-year contract with Manchester United, according to the Daily Mail.

The Northern Echo: WOLFSBURG, GERMANY - DECEMBER 08:  Marouane Fellaini of Manchester reacts during the UEFA Champions League match between VfL Wolfsburg and Manchester United FC at the Volkswagen arena on December 8, 2015 in Wolfsburg, Germany.  (Photo by Stuart Franklin/B

The Belgian midfielder's deal could be worth in excess of £100,000-a-week, and would include the option of an extra year beyond 2020 if both sides agree to the extension.

The 30-year-old has been linked with several clubs, including in Turkey and China, but a late offer from United has persuaded him to stay.

Manchester United are reportedly facing competition in Europe for the signature of Mateo Kovacic.

The Daily Mirror says reports in Spain suggest the Real Madrid midfielder, who is free to leave Real at the right price this summer, is also being eyed up by Juventus and Roma.

Everton are eyeing up Croatia's Ante Rebic following his strong performance at the World Cup, the Daily Mirror reports.

The 24-year-old also had an impressive season on loan at Eintracht Frankfurt, with the club activating their option to buy him from his parent club Fiorentina.

But the side are reportedly bracing themselves for offers, with Tottenham also said to be long-term admirers.

Southampton are in a strong position to land Basel winger Mohamed Elyounoussi, according to the Daily Mirror.

The club are hoping to seal the deal for the 23-year-old in the coming days.