Tony Pulis on new Middlesbrough signing and imminent departure of Grant Leadbitter to Sunderland

Middlesbrough skipper Grant Leadbitter is wanted by Sunderland this month.
Middlesbrough skipper Grant Leadbitter is wanted by Sunderland this month.

Sunderland are closing in on a deal for Grant Leadbitter and Tony Pulis admits it would be a "wonderful move" for the Middlesbrough skipper.

Jack Ross is keen on bringing the boyhood Sunderland fan back to the Stadium of Light this month and a deal is close and Leadbitter could be unveiled by the weekend.

Boro boss Pulis has been speaking about the move for the first time and confirmed talks are taking place and admits it would be a good move for his skipper, pushed further down the Boro pecking order following the arrival of John Obi Mikel.

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On Leadbitter, Pulis said: "I think they’re talking.

"Grant’s a wonderful professional, he’s been fantastic since I've been at the club.

"He’s a Sunderland lad, and it’d be a wonderful move for him.

"Grant has a lot of affection for Sunderland, as he does with this club.

"We'll do anything we can. But the finances are out of my hands, they’re between both parties."

Leadbitter has made eight appearances this season.

The 33-year-old had been minded to stay on Teesside regardless, rebuffing approaches from the Championship earlier in the January window.

However interest from Sunderland has changed the picture and he now looks set to rejoin his boyhood club.

He made over 100 appearances in six years for the Black Cats before leaving for Ipswich Town.

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Meanwhile, Pulis was delighted to this week land the signing of former Chelsea midfielder John Obi Mikel, the 31-year-old turning down offers from elsewhere.

"He’s a winner," Pulis said.

"He’s had that experience and Chelsea won almost everything with him as part of the team.

"A good player, and a winner, and hopefully that rubs off on everyone around the football club.

"There were lots of other clubs interested, we spent a bit of time on it and we’ve convinced him it’ll be a good challenge for him.

"Him coming through the door and into training yesterday gave everyone a massive lift. Hopefully we can get one or two more of that ilk."