STOKE CITY are expected to wait until Liam Bridcutt’s switch to Sunderland is finalised before making their move for Lee Cattermole.
Bridcutt is due to be unveiled as a Sunderland player before tonight’s 11pm transfer deadline after the Black Cats agreed a fee of around £2.5million with Gus Poyet’s former club Brighton.
The 24-year-old travelled to Wearside to undergo a medical and discuss personal terms yesterday and will pen a three-and-a-half year deal after Sunderland’s month-long pursuit of the defensive midfielder reached a successful conclusion.
But the imminent capture of Bridcutt continues to throw doubt over the future of Cattermole, who missed Wednesday’s victory over Stoke through injury.
Last night, Sunderland had still not received an offer from the Potters for the 25-year-old, who is one of the top earners at the Stadium of Light.
And SportMail understands that Stoke are planning to wait for the conclusion of the Bridcutt situation before they contemplate making an opening bid for Cattermole.
But with Cattermole thought to be at the top of Stoke boss Mark Hughes’ wish-list, the Potters will be ready for a lengthy day of negotiations, which could go down to the wire.
There is also the question of whether Cattermole, who has two-and-a-half years remaining on his Sunderland contract, is willing to move to the Britannia Stadium.
Cattermole has been a key figure in Poyet’s transformation of Sunderland and has a trip to Wembley to look forward to, with the Black Cats heading to the Capital One Cup final in five weeks.
Yet there are doubts over whether Cattermole and Bridcutt can operate in the same starting XI.
The latter has been Sunderland’s main target during the January transfer window after the former Chelsea trainee excelled under Poyet at Brighton.
Sunderland saw a £2m offer rejected earlier this month, while Bridcutt submitted a transfer request at the Amex Stadium in a bad to hasten his exit.
But Sunderland have maintained their pursuit and he will become the club’s fifth January signing after Nacho Scocco, Marcos Alonso, Santiago Vergini and Oscar Ustari.