JOHN MENSAH hopes to land a work permit quickly after learning his “dream” of making a return to the Premier League with Sunderland has been secured ahead of the visit by Birmingham City.

Mensah has been on Wearside this week to finalise the terms of a complex contract, which will see him leave Olympique Lyonnais.

Sunderland manager Steve Bruce has been reluctant to match a £6m asking price because of concerns of the chronic injury problems, which prevented Mensah from playing more than 17 times during his season-long loan.

But now, after months of heavy negotiating between the two clubs and the player’s representatives, an agreement has been reached and Bruce is likely to paint a clearer picture at his press briefing ahead of Sunday’s friendly with Hoffenheim in Germany.

Mensah’s agent, Fabien Pivaeteau, however, insists his player will not be spending the next nine months on a second loan from Ligue 1.

“John is going to Sunderland, but not on loan as is being reported,” said Pivaeteau.

The exact details of the contract between the clubs might be unclear at this stage, but Mensah is satisfied there will be no further complications and that he should face Birmingham in eight days time.

“I’m happy to be back at the Stadium of Light, especially to meet Steve Bruce, Eric Black, my team-mates and the lovely supporters,” said Mensah, who also claimed the transfer will not be officially announced until he has received his work permit and international clearance.

Mensah’s return is likely to bring an end to any further forays into the transfer market for a defender, unless Bruce was to move on either George McCartney or Anton Ferdinand.

Bruce is keen to have Mensah available for the opener, having already accepted he will be without his first signing of the summer against the Blues. Cristian Riveros, who played for his country in the World Cup, will stay until after Paraguay’s friendly with Costa Rica on August 11.

Bruce yesterday finally completed the sale of Marton Fulop, who faces Middlesbrough tomorrow, to Ipswich for about £1m.

Sunderland have also confirmed the departures of leftback Michael Liddle, who has joined Leyton Orient on a sixmonth deal, and Jean Yves M’voto and striker Oumare Tounkara, who have gone to Oldham.

Tounkara faced a season in reservesbehind Darren Bent, Fraizer Campbell and Kenwyne Jones, who is interesting Stoke City, and Bruce is still hunting another forward.

Campbell for England?

SUNDERLAND striker Fraizer Campbell last night followed up his manager’s claims that he could become an England international by insisting he can.

This week, Steve Bruce said that Campell should be considered for England duty if he can continue his good pre-season form.

“It’s always nice to hear your manager saying positive things about you,”

said Campbell.

“Hopefully, it can happen, but I’m not getting carried away.

“I’ve been right the way through the youth system and played quite a few games for the Under-21s, so it’s not as though the whole England thing is new to me.

“In the last year or so, I’ve seen quite a few of the lads I’ve played with in the Under-21s progress to the full team. Either way, it’s only relevant to me if I’m playing well for Sunderland.”