The exodus of Sunderland’s dead-wood is underway, with Santiago Vergini due to return to Argentina by Monday, while Espanyol are eyeing Jordi Gomez.
The seven surplus-to-requirements players on Sunderland’s books are a major issue for Sunderland boss Sam Allardyce, with Vergini, Gomez, Will Buckley, Liam Bridcutt, Charis Mavrias, Adam Matthews and Emanuele Giaccherini’s collective wages totalling around £150,000 a week.
Allardyce needs those funds to reinvest in his playing squad, while any transfer fees recouped would supplement his kitty for summer reinforcements.
But Sunderland are making progress, with Vergini due to be the first out of the door, while Gomez might not be far behind the Argentine international.
Sunderland have agreed a fee with Boca Juniors – thought to be around the £1.5million mark – for Vergini, with no substance to reports in Argentina that the player himself has ‘bought out’ the remaining 12 months of his contract at the Stadium of Light.
Vergini is expected back in his homeland this week and his three-year contract at Boca should be confirmed by Monday, in order for him to be registered for the Copa Libertadores – the South American version of the Champions League.
Boca president Daniel Angelici said: “With Vergini, we’re all settled. We’re just waiting for the player to come.
“But there is an agreement on the transfer and his contract. We think we will finalise it on Monday.”
Presuming Vergini’s move goes ahead, he will avoid having to return for pre-season training at Sunderland, with the Black Cats squad coming back to work in two groups, one tomorrow and the remainder on Monday.
But five of the other six unwanted players – discounting Euro 2016 participant Giaccherini – are due back, albeit there has been interest in midfielder Gomez.
The Spaniard spent the second half of last season on loan at Blackburn, yet the change of manager at Ewood Park has ended the Championship club’s interest in the 31-year-old.
However, Gomez’s former club Wigan have enquired about his services and another of his ex-employers, Espanyol, have confirmed that the Sunderland man is a target.
After coming through the ranks at Barcelona, Gomez moved to neighbours Espanyol as a 22-year-old, before getting his move to these shores with Swansea.
The La Liga outfit would have the financial strength to meet Gomez’s personal terms, with another 12 months to run on his Sunderland deal.