SUNDERLAND are close to completing the signing of Forest Green Rovers midfielder Carl Winchester – and have also made an inquiry about St Johnstone defender Scott Tanser.

Black Cats officials have agreed the terms of a deal for Winchester, who worked with head coach Lee Johnson when the pair were at Oldham Athletic.

The 27-year-old, who is in the final six months of his current deal at Forest Green, will become Johnson’s first signing as Sunderland boss.

The Northern Irishman is a central midfielder will provide another option to Grant Leadbitter, Max Power and Josh Scowen at the heart of the pitch.

As Forest Green skipper, he is regarded as an influential presence both on and off the field, and he is likely to be a key figure in Johnson’s intended overhaul of his side.

The Sunderland boss is also interested in Tanser, a left-back who has made more than 100 Scottish Premier League appearances for St Johnstone since joining the club in 2017.

The 26-year-old came through the academies at Blackpool and Burnley as a youngster, and made his Football League breakthrough at Rochdale before moving north of the border.

Sunderland have Denver Hume and Callum McFadzean as left-back options, but both players are currently injured and Johnson was forced to play Dion Sanderson out of position in last weekend’s goalless draw at Northampton Town.

The Wearsiders are not the only club to have expressed an interest in Tanser, however, as Championship side Barnsley are also understood to be involved in discussions with St Johnstone.