Bramble close to Cats deal

21 July 2010 10:49
TITUS BRAMBLE should be confirmed as a Sunderland player later today after Wigan accepted a £3m offer for his services.[LNB] The former Newcastle defender travelled to the Black Cats' Academy of Light training ground yesterday afternoon to discuss personal terms and undergo a medical.[LNB] Bramble is currently nursing a broken foot but will be fit to resume full training in around a fortnight. The injury is not expected to hinder his medical on Wearside.[LNB] Talks are understood to have progressed well, and Bramble is expected to be confirmed as Sunderland's most expensive summer signing to date.[LNB] His return to the North-East has occurred at breakneck speed, with Bruce only tabling a formal offer for his services on Monday after another of his leading targets, Heiko Westermann, joined Hamburg.[LNB] Latics chairman Dave Whelan has criticised Sunderland's transfer dealings in the last two transfer windows, each of which has seen the Black Cats launch an unsuccessful pursuit of full-back Maynor Figueroa.[LNB] However, with Wigan boss Roberto Martinez hoping to raise funds to make signings of his own this summer, Whelan was quick to grant Bramble permission to travel to Wearside.[LNB] The 28-year-old's arrival will split Sunderland supporters, many of whom remember him as the gaffe-prone centre-half who made more than 150 senior appearances for Newcastle between 2002-07.[LNB] The Ipswich-born defender was already on Wigan's books when Bruce moved to the DW Stadium in 2007, and his career was transformed under the current Sunderland boss.[LNB] He was voted Wigan's Player of the Year in his first full season with Bruce and has made a total of 104 appearances for the Lancashire club.[LNB] He was the subject of tentative interest from Sunderland last summer, only for Wigan officials to quickly rule out any prospect of him leaving.[LNB] However, the situation has changed and, provided there are no problems with the result of his medical, he should be confirmed as a Black Cats player in the next 24 hours.[LNB] His arrival would place a huge question mark over the future over Anton Ferdinand, and would also suggest Bruce has admitted defeat in his pursuit of both Sol Campbell and Nedum Onuoha.[LNB] Campbell has held face-toface talks with Sunderland officials, but is understood to have expressed a desire to speak to Newcastle when he returns from his honeymoon at the start of next month.[LNB] Onuoha has been a leading target all summer, but Manchester City's £8m valuation of the youngster has proved an insurmountable obstacle to any deal.[LNB] As well as chasing Campbell and Onuoha, Bruce also tabled a £4m bid for Westermann last month, but after Schalke rebuffed Sunderland's offer, the Germany international completed a £7m move to Hamburg yesterday.[LNB] Bramble will become Sunderland's fifth summer signing if he puts pen to paper later today, following Cristian Riveros, Simon Mignolet, Ahmed al-Muhammadi and the returning Bolo Zenden to the Stadium of Light.[LNB] Zenden signed a new deal with the Black Cats despite having threatened to leave after starting just one Premier League match in the whole of last season.[LNB] The Dutchman, who scored Sunderland's only goal in their pre-season victory at Darlington last weekend, is determined to improve his appearance record next term, and insists he will not be satisfied with a handful of substitute appearances.[LNB] I had the option to come back for another year if I played 50 per cent of the games, so I have come back,[LNB] said Zenden. But I want to play more than last year.[LNB] I wasn't happy with the amount of football I played.[LNB] It was very frustrating spending time on the bench. I don't want to be someone who just passes on my experience in training, I want to be playing.[LNB] Sunderland play the opening game of their Portuguese tour this evening when they take on Brighton in Albufeira (ko 9pm).[LNB] Martyn Waghorn could make a surprise appearance against the Seagulls after flying out to join in training yesterday.[LNB] The striker has received the all-clear after injuring his knee in last week's 2-1 win over a Munster XI.[LNB] Nyron Nosworthy will not be involved, however, after agreeing a season-long loan with Sheffield United yesterday.[LNB] Sunderland had hoped to strike a permanent deal for the defender, who spent the second half of last season on loan at Bramall Lane, but have agreed to another temporary arrangement.[LNB]

Source: Northern_Echo