Updated: 24/08/2012 11:47 | By pa.press.net

Black Cats close in on Fletcher

Steven Fletcher is set to move to Sunderland and return to the Premier League

Steven Fletcher is set to move to Sunderland and return to the Premier League

Sunderland boss Martin O'Neill is closing in on his number one summer target as Steven Fletcher headed for Wearside.

The 25-year-old Wolves striker was due to open talks on Thursday over his protracted switch to the Black Cats after the two clubs finally agreed a deal.

Press Association Sport understands Fletcher was due in the north-east to discuss personal terms and to undergo a medical with a view to completing his move ahead of Saturday's Barclays Premier League fixture against promoted Reading at the Stadium of Light.

Given Sunderland's dogged pursuit of the Scotland international, who earlier this month handed in a transfer request in an effort to hasten his exit from Molineux, O'Neill will hope for swift progress. However, having finally negotiated the tortuous process of reaching agreement with Wolves, the Black Cats boss will take nothing for granted.

The fee is understood to be in the region of £12million, despite suggestions from the Midlands that it is considerably higher, although Sunderland have taken a firm stance in their valuation of a player for whom several previous bids had been rejected.

That is a sizeable investment in a man who cost Wolves £7million just two years ago, but an illustration of O'Neill's belief that he could be central to his club's immediate and long-term future.

Wolves have refused to conduct a fire-sale in the wake of relegation and chief executive Jez Moxey has insisted for much of the last few weeks that the club's top players were simply not for sale.

But with the deadline fast approaching, they now appear ready to do business over at least one of their prized assets. Despite being relegated from the Premier League twice in three years, first with Burnley and then with the Black Country club, Fletcher has managed to score 30 top-flight goals, a creditable return in struggling sides.

The Scot would provide the focus the Black Cats have been looking for ever since Darren Bent's shock departure for Aston Villa in January last year.

Steven Bruce's failure to replace either Bent or loan signing Danny Welbeck before Asamoah Gyan's defection to United Arab Emirates side Al-Ain left the club painfully short of firepower, and although Fraizer Campbell's return from injury and Nicklas Bendtner's arrival on loan last season helped to plug the gap, they could not save the manager's job.

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Guys, at 12 million quid, he is a bargain, will get goals wherever he goes, with decent service he will give you 15 premiership goals per season, at 25 still has his best years to come, Wolves were utterly rubbish last year but he still got the goals. Lewis Day,  we are not talking about moneybags glory hunter Teams/Supporters, we are talking about a Home grown <albeit Scottish> player, not some foreign mercenary whose name we cant spell. Steve will do well on Wearside, better than Darren Bent, and i for one will be sorry to see him go.
Has the world of football gone completely nuts, twelve million quid for a player that would not get into Arsenal, or Spurs or Chelsea's first team.
24/08/2012 12:21
Yes Tromans Wolves were utterly rubbish last  year.  As were Burnley when they had Flethcher up front and got relegated.  Hope he takes that luck with him to Sunderland he is obviously a proven game loser how ever many  he scores
23/08/2012 23:52
Honestly...some players have NO ambition or scruples. Wonder what part of Newcastle he will live in.
23/08/2012 14:31

All the Sunderland fans calling us bar codes insisting we look "stupid" because we claim they're a poor club, this is Cisse and Shearer money we are talking here. And them two alone have done much more than what this man has done. He is worth 5 million at the most. Connor Whickham too, come on mackems? Get out your own 4rses. And face facts we are a hell of a lot better than you's no matter what!


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