LORIK Cana has described John Mensah as a Premier League star in waiting, and claimed the Ghanaian defender would be a valuable addition to the Sunderland squad.
Mensah is expected to become Steve Bruces sixth summer signing when he completes an anticipated season- long loan from French club Lyon before the weekend.
The 26-year-old centre-half was on Wearside yesterday completing the technicalities of a temporary transfer that could become a permanent £6m switch at the end of the season.
Cana played against Mensah on a number of occasions during a seven-year stay in France that incorporated lengthy spells at Paris St Germain and Marseille.
And the Sunderland midfielder claims his former adversary is perfectly suited to a life in the Premier League.
He is a player I know well, said Cana, who has appeared in both of Sunderlands matches this season following a summer switch from Ligue One. Ive played against him a number of times in the past, and he is someone who has always impressed me when he has been on the other team. He is a very good player who plays in the best team in France, so that has to say something.
He did not play in all of Lyons matches last season, but I dont think people should read too much into that. Lyon are like the Chelsea or Manchester United of France, and very few players play every game at those clubs.
He is a good player and I think he can really help us.
He is tall, but he is also quick and strong. I think he has all of the qualities you need to be a star defender in the Premier League.
Sunderland expect Mensah to complete his move before the weekend, but the African will not be considered for Saturdays home game with Blackburn.
Canas participation in that game is also in doubt, as he suffered a painful hand injury in the first half of Tuesday nights 3-1 defeat to Chelsea.
Having left the Stadium of Light with protective bandaging around his left hand, the midfielder underwent a scan yesterday to ascertain the extent of the damage.
The results are expected this morning, and there is a chance Cana could be sidelined for up to a month.
The hand is a bit of a worry, he admitted. I injured it in the first half, and now it is just a case of seeing what the results of the tests are. It aches, but if that is all it is, it will disappear in time.
Hopefully, it is nothing more serious than that.
Lee Cattermole also faces a race against time to be fit for Saturdays game after damaging his back in Tuesdays defeat.
He produced another tigerish display against the Blues, and his relationship with Cana is already shaping into a dynamic central midfield partnership.
Cana has been impressed with the energy of his new team-mate, and claims the pair complement each other perfectly at the heart of Sunderlands midfield.
I think I am already starting to build up a good relationship with Lee, he said.
He is my kind of player, he is energetic and always gives 100 per cent. It is still early, but I think we are already starting to do a good job.
We will have to work at our partnership, and obviously we will have to see how other players fit in as the season goes on. But after the first two matches I am fairly happy.