Sunderland hope to sign Tom Huddlestone from Tottenham Hotspur for £5m. Talks regarding the midfielder continue but the 26-year-old's potential arrival seems a deviation from Paolo Di Canio's policy of recruiting speedy, athletic players.
Yet Huddlestone's lack of pace is offset by stellar passing ability contained in a powerful 6ft 3in frame which would offer Sunderland the sort of creativity and incision they have long lacked in central midfield. Something of an injury-prone, unfulfilled talent, Huddlestone is also coveted by Fulham and Hull City but seems most likely to end up on Wearside.
Although he made 28 first-team appearances for Spurs last season, Huddlestone has become frustrated by André Villas-Boas rationing his appearances and feels a fresh start could enhance his ambitions of adding to his four senior England caps.
Di Canio, engaged in a radical squad overhaul, has also expressed a strong interest in Internazionale's 20‑year‑old midfielder Alfred Duncan.
Sunderland on Friday sold Ahmed Elmohamady to Hull City for around £2m. The 25-year-old Egypt right-back or right- sided midfielder spent last season on loan with Steve Bruce's team, impressing as Hull won promotion to the Premier League.
Sunderland have reached a provisional agreement with Arsenal to sign their Italian goalkeeper Vito Mannone for an undisclosed fee. With Keiren Westwood expected to step up from the bench at the Stadium of Light as Simon Mignolet's replacement, Mannone will be expected to challenge the Ireland keeper for a place.
The 25-year-old made only 15 appearances for Arsène Wenger's side after arriving from Atlanta in 2005. Mannone has however enjoyed two loan spells with Hull and another at Barnsley.