SUNDERLAND are close to securing the return of John Mensah on loan from Lyon, although they are yet to agree a financial package with the French club.
Lyon had been hoping to sell Mensah after his impressive World Cup campaign with Ghana, but the player’s physical problems have scuppered those plans and they are now resigned to sending him out on loan again. That will get him off the wage bill at the Stade Gerland and Sunderland are in the driving seat as the player wants to come back to the Stadium of Light.
Bruce is also confident they will make a breakthrough soon as Márton Fülöp looks to finalise his switch to Ipswich Town.
Bruce said: “We’re also close with John Mensah. He wants to come and Lyon want him to go, so that will hopefully get sorted in the next few days.
“Márton Fülöp is on the edge of joining Ipswich. They are talking personal terms as I understand it, so something should be finalised shortly as long as those talks go well.” However, there is still plenty of confusion surrounding David James. Sunderland have talked to the England goalkeeper, who is a free agent after leaving Portsmouth, but other clubs are interested.
James cancelled a planned visit to Celtic yesterday, which appeared to boost Sunderland’s chances of landing him, only for interest to emerge from another top-flight club. The problem for Bruce is that he will not make James first choice and only wants to sign him as cover for the injured Craig Gordon.
Therefore James, who wants a contract for at least one season, is refusing to commit until he has looked at every alternative.
Bruce added: “David James has talked to Celtic, which we always knew he was going to do. I don’t think he is trying to play one off against the other, he’s just keeping his options open at the moment. We’re still hopeful something will happen.”