JOHN Mensah will finally be confirmed as a Sunderland player over the weekend, but Anthony Stokes has severed his ties with Wearside to complete a permanent move to Scottish Premier League side Hibernian.
Having successfully completed a medical in France this week, Mensah is awaiting a visa and international clearance before tying up a seasonlong loan from Lyon.
The Ghana international is expected to travel to England in the next 24 hours, but the delay in completing the technicalities of his move is likely to have scuppered any hope of him appearing in Monday’s Carling Cup second-round tie at Norwich.
“We’re almost there with that one,” said Sunderland boss Steve Bruce. “And we’re hoping to get it over the line in the next 24 hours. We certainly hope he can join us before the window finishes.
“He’s had a medical and we’re just waiting now on the issues of work permits and things like that.
“We don’t envisage a problem there, and the two clubs have agreed, so we’re close to getting that finished.”
The delay in completing Mensah’s transfer is similar to the hold-up that delayed Paulo Da Silva’s arrival at the Academy of Light.
Da Silva spent almost three weeks holed up in Mexico waiting for his British work visa to be stamped, but was finally given permission to travel to the North-East last Friday.
He has been involved in all of this week’s training sessions and could make his Sunderland debut on Monday.
“He’s trained all week and we’re really pleased about that,” said Bruce.
“(Monday’s match at Norwich) could be a game where we see him. He hasn’t had any real games yet, but he played in a behind-closeddoors practice match (on Thursday) and that went well. He was fine with that, so he’s getting to the stage where he’s in contention.”
Stokes completed a permanent switch to Hibernian yesterday morning.
The 21-year-old striker signed a three-year deal at Easter Road after Sunderland agreed to sell him for an undisclosed fee.
The Republic of Ireland international never lived up to his potential following a £2m move from Arsenal, scoring just five goals in 38 appearances for the Black Cats.
However, he will remembered for his lastminute winner against Derby in December 2007 and for scoring the opening goal in the 5-0 win at Luton that secured the 2006-07 Championship title.
“Anthony has gone to Hibs,” confirmed Bruce.
“There comes a time when a footballer wants to play.
He’s seen Darren Bent and Fraizer Campbell walk in the door and he’s thought to himself, ‘Well, I want to go and play football’.
“We wish him the best of luck.”