Sunderland agree 3m compensation deal with Wigan for Steve Bruce
Sunderland officials are believed to be in Portugal, where Bruce is on holiday, and are discussing personal terms with the former Manchester United captain over a three-year contract. An official announcement on his appointment is imminent. Quinn and Whelan had been in talks throughout the weekend to hammer out a deal to enable Bruce to leave the JJB Stadium with the Wigan owner demanding a £3 million release fee for the former Manchester United skipper. The move for Bruce is expected to prompt wholesale changes behind-the-scenes at Sunderland with the Wigan backroom staff expected to re-locate to Wearside, including his No 2 Eric Black. Tyneside-born Bruce may have an affinity with Newcastle but that has not stopped Quinn and club owner Ellis Short deciding he is the perfect candidate to lead the club into the upper echelons of the Premier League. Bruce had become disillusioned with life at Wigan because of their need to sell their best players but life will by very different in the North-East because he will have a £50m transfer kitty to work with this summer thanks to billionaire Short. Bruce will be expected to secure Sunderland a top-10 finish next season after the club narrowly escaped relegation at the end of a campaign overshadowed by the resignation of his former Old Trafford team-mate Roy Keane. Despite spending tens of millions on new players, Sunderland were languishing in the relegation zone when Keane quit last December and just averted a return to Championship football under Ricky Sbragia who stepped down following the game of the season. Bruce, 48, will be optimistic about the new challenge, having guided the Wigan to an impressive 11th place last season. Whelan is now expected to attempt to replace Bruce with Swansea manager Roberto Martinez although he has also been linked with Peterborough's Darren Ferguson.
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