CHARIS MAVRIAS is finally on the verge of sealing his move to the Stadium of Light after Sunderland resurrected a deal for the Greek winger.
Mavrias last night arrived on Wearside to undergo a medical and discuss personal terms over a £2.5million switch to Sunderland, with an imminent conclusion expected for a transfer saga that has dragged on for weeks.
Sunderland reached an agreement with Greek side Panathinaikos last month for Mavrias, which would have seen the Black Cats pay an initial £1.5m for the 19-year-old, plus another £1m in add-on payments.
But the deal dragged on and on, with Sunderland’s interest cooling after boosting their options on the flanks with the captures of Emanuele Giaccherini and David Moberg Karlsson.
Panathinaikos eventually ran out of patience with Sunderland and the deal looked dead.
But, following the sale of James McClean a fortnight ago, Sunderland made a fresh approach to Panathinaikos, to take the Greek international on a season-long loan.
That offer was immediately rejected by cash-strapped Panathinaikos, who need the financial injection provided by the sale of Mavrias – one of the highest-rated youngsters to emerge from Greek football.
But Sunderland returned to their original offer last week and Mavrias is now expected to become the club’s 11th signing of the summer.
A midfield playmaker remains Paolo Di Canio’s priority, yet, as the Sunderland head coach revealed earlier this week, an extra winger has been lying second on his transfer wish-list.
“If we can bring in only one player, without selling (Stephane) Sessegnon, it would have to be absolutely a central midfielder,” said the Sunderland head coach.
“If we can bring two – it would be a central midfield player and a winger.”
Sunderland also continue to be in the market for a new left-back, with the Black Cats thought to have made an enquiry for Juventus defender Paolo De Ceglie.
But it is understood that there is no imminent prospect of De Ceglie moving to the Stadium of Light.
The 26-year-old is on a lucrative contract at Juventus and Sunderland are having to cut their cloth by the wage limits set out under the new television deal.
That was one of the major hurdles when Sunderland held discussions over Valencia left-back Aly Cissokho last week, regardless of Liverpool’s move for the French international.
There were also suggestions in Italy yesterday that De Ceglie is eager to fight for his first-team place at Juventus, with another four years to run on his contract with the reigning Serie A champions.