Transfer deadline day is more than six weeks away, but Sunderland are on the verge of their tenth signing of the window.
Argentinian full-back Gino Peruzzi is on the verge of a £5m move from Velez Sarsfield, and is expected to join the club’s trip to Hong Kong.
In a summer of rapid overhaul, Sunderland have been frustrated in their attempts to sign new full-backs. The search for a left-back goes on, but Peruzzi should at least solve their problems on the right, paving the way for Phil Bardsley’s departure.
Twenty-one-year-old Peruzzi started the Argentine season on the right of midfield, and can also play at left-back. But it is at right-back he has made the majority of his appearances for club and country.
Peruzzi, capped four times by his country, was identified early in the transfer window but the deal has been a long drawn-out affair.
Still, it seems it will be completed in time for him to play in next week’s Barclays Asia Trophy, when Sunderland have games against Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester City.
Left at home when the club went to Italy for a pre-season training camp, Bardsley has been told he does not have a future at the Stadium of Light. Coach Paolo Di Canio was furious when Bardsley was pictured on the floor of a casino covered in money days before the final game of the season.
The Scotland international was dropped for that game along with Matt Kilgallon, who was with him that night. Kilgallon, who has since joined Blackburn Rovers, was anyway set to be released at the end of his contract.
Hull City, who are also interested in striker Danny Graham, are one of the clubs interested, along with Fulham. Their West London rivals Queens Park Rangers could also offer an escape route, although it would mean stepping down a division.
The transfer window closes at 11pm on September 2.
Even with such an astonishing rate of success, new director of football Roberto Di Fanti has experienced setbacks in his efforts to overhaul the squad.
Attacking midfielder Daniel Bessa has revealed he turned down a move to Wearside because he did not think his game would be suited to the Premier League.
After joining Portuguese side Olhanense from Inter Milan, the Brazilian revealed: “I had other invitations, Sunderland was one of them, but it did not get too far because this was not the football I wanted.
“I watch the Portuguese league and it’s fast and technical.
“I play behind the strikers, but do two or three jobs. In Italy I learned to help the team, I like to hold the ball and get technical.”
France Under-20 international El-Hadji Ba did join, however, and the lure of the league attracted him.
“I am very happy to have joined Sunderland, which is such a big club,” he told the Black Cats’ official website. “It is a very proud moment to be able to call myself a Sunderland player.
“The Premier League, for me, is a very big league – the best in the world. There are very good players here so I am very happy.”
Sunderland’s players have been in Italy getting to know Di Canio’s methods and their new team-mates away from prying eyes.
“It is good to be able to get to know them and improve my English,” said Ba.
“The training camp has been good and we are looking forward to the season. More and more it is good for the team and I am very proud to be here.”
Meanwhile, Burnley have emerged as favourites to sign striker Ryan Noble, another released at the end of his contract.
Noble spent time on loan at Hartlepool United during the past two seasons, but failed to earn a permanent move.