Sunderland ready for second summer transfer with midfielder move close

Sunderland are tipped to make the second signing of the summer – with a deal said to be imminent. The Black Cats signed Simon Moore on a free transfer last month before Regis Le Bris was named as the new head coach.

Now they are about to recruit again. French boss Le Bris has gone on record to say he wants more experience in the squad to work alongside a talented young group.

Last season’s group lacked leadership and it proved too much towards the closing stages of the season when the team fell away badly in the Championship run-in. Sunderland were said to have been keen on signing former Sheffield United midfielder Oliver Norwood, who has 381 Championship appearances and four promotions to his name.

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It was suggested that the Sunderland hierarchy had cooled their interest on him. Now they have reportedly gone for Alan Browne instead.

The 29-year-old has racked up more than 400 appearances for Preston North End and is now a free-agent after turning down a hugely lucrative contract. According to The Irish Examiner, midfielder is to undergo a medical at the Academy of Light, meaning confirmation of his arrival is likely to happen this week.

If the deal is completed, Browne will be one of only four players over the age of 25 years old at the club. The Republic of Ireland international was a regular at Preston and will look to command a starting place in Sunderland’s side.

Sporting director Kristjaan Speakman has already signed Chris Rigg on a new contract, while it seems Dan Neil and Jobe Bellingham will be staying put. That means the club are assembling a high-quality midfield.

Browne is very much an all-round midfielder and will add a bit of everything to the team. Le Bris had said in his first press conference: “We are thinking about one or two more experienced players, who know the Championship very well, for example, and have high standards when it comes to training.

“They can help dictate the way of playing and lead the team during the game. These kinds of players could be young or could be older.”

Meanwhile, Sunderland have provided an update to supporters travelling to Spain for the Black Cats’ pre-season fixtures against Nottingham Forest and CD Eldense.

A statement read: "Due to limited demand and following extensive dialogue with local authorities, the club is unfortunately unable to provide transport to and from the Pinatar Arena.

All fans who have purchased the official SAFC fan package are unaffected and will have all travel taken care of. SAFC would like to thank supporters for their understanding in relation to this matter."