Toronto striker Jermaine Defoe has passed his medical at Sunderland as he closes in on a move back to the Premier League.
The Black Cats have turned to the former Tottenham front man after scoring just 18 goals in their opening 21 Barclays Premier League fixtures of the season, with Steven Fletcher, Connor Wickham and Jozy Altidore having contributed only six of them.
It is understood chairman Ellis Short and sporting director Lee Congerton have put together a lucrative package to lure Defoe not only back to his native country, but also to the north east after it became clear he was looking for a way out of Major League Soccer after less than a year in America.
Sources on Wearside were cautiously optimistic that a deal could be done on Wednesday morning, and that optimism grew when news of the medical emerged.
However, the transfer could yet depend on United States international Altidore, whose future has been the subject of intense speculation in recent weeks, and his proposed move in the opposite direction.
That switch would have to be ratified by MLS, which operates an allocation process, and meet with Altidore’s approval to allow the Defoe transfer to go through.
Defoe only joined Toronto during the summer, but, despite having scored 11 goals in 16 league appearances after signing a four-year deal, he has not settled and has been courted by a series of Premier League clubs.
He has been training with Spurs, Sunderland’s next league opponents on Saturday, in recent days.
The Londoner, who worked briefly with Sunderland boss Gus Poyet during his time at Tottenham, has scored goals throughout his club career and has 19 in 55 appearances for England to his name.
That is something Altidore has singularly failed to do since arriving on Wearside from Dutch club AZ Alkmaar in a £6.5million in July 2013.
The 25-year-old, who also signed a four-year deal, has scored just three times for the club in 52 outings.