Sunderland are believed to be closing in on a deal to bring Grant Leadbitter back to the Stadium of Light. The Middlesbrough midfielder has fallen down the pecking order at the Riverside and the Black Cats are hopeful his presence can help them continue their push for promotion in League One.
Sky Sports suggests the deal will be a permanent one and the 33-year-old will be taking a large pay cut to return to his boyhood club.
For Sunderland chairman Stewart Donald it will undoubtedly be a big coup.
At the start of last summer, not long after taking over at the Stadium of Light, Donald made it clear that Leadbitter was one of the club’s targets. He was not keen on a loan move and wanted him permanently.
“Grant is a player on our radar.
“And we would want it to be a permanent deal rather than a loan.”
No deal ever happened. Wages were an issue. Leadbitter also seemed to only be available on loan because of the transfer fee involved. The player himself felt he still had a future on Teesside. All of those issues have now been put to bed.
Now, Donald may finally have his man and the return of Leadbitter is a great morale boost for Sunderland, as well as the obvious fact of bringing in a top midfield operator.
Sunderland will now hope he guides them into the League One top two.