SUNDERLAND have admitted defeat in their pursuit of Dion Sanderson – and are also resigned to losing youngster Francis Okoronkwo to Everton.

Black Cats head coach Lee Johnson had hoped to re-sign Sanderson after the centre-half enjoyed a successful loan spell at the Stadium of Light last season.

Sunderland officials held a series of talks with the hierarchy at Molineux, and are understood to have discussed the possibility of a £1m permanent transfer for the 21-year-old, but their attempts to broker a deal proved unsuccessful.

A number of other clubs, including Newcastle United, held talks of their own, but with Sanderson on the verge of signing a new contract to remain with Wolves, Birmingham City have thrashed out a deal that will see the defender spend next season on loan at St Andrew’s.

Speaking to BBC West Midlands, Birmingham boss Lee Bowyer said: “We are hoping that will get done soon. It’s something that I think has been agreed, but he is just coming back from an injury so we are just making sure everything is right on the medical side of things.

“I don’t think there’s any problems, it’s just a matter of time, another good addition to the squad.”

Meanwhile, Sunderland are also set to lose Okoronkwo, a 16-year-old striker who has been making waves with the Black Cats’ youth team in the last 12 months.

The Black Cats’ coaching team had hoped to keep Okoronkwo on Wearside, but Everton are understood to have agreed a deal that will see him move to Merseyside for a compensatory fee that could rise as high as £1m.

The failure to hold on to Okoronkwo will be a bitter disappointment to the Black Cats, with owner Kyril Louis-Dreyfus having made holding on to the club’s talented young players one of his key priorities since replacing Stewart Donald at the start of the year.

Okoronkwo’s departure was effectively out of Sunderland’s hands, but it is nevertheless a blow that he is joining the likes of Joe Hugill and Logan Pye in leaving the Academy of Light before he has had an opportunity to contribute to the first team.