Former Manchester United starlet and Sunderland midfielder, Paddy McNair is set to arrive on the south coast in the next couple of days, according to The Sun.
McNair has been the subject of two failed bids by Chris Hughton’s side at £2m and £3.5m, respectively.
The Seagulls have already been busy in the transfer window, sealing deals for Nigerian international Leon Balogun on a free transfer, as well as Romanian international striker Florin Andone. Brighton, who finished in 15th last season, are looking to bolster their squad after their impressive debut season in the top flight.
They see the Sunderland centre-back as a diverse option, while the Northern Ireland international has previously played in central midfield and at right-back in the past.
McNair has a good amount of experience for a 23-year-old, playing 33 times in the Premier League across two stints.
His aforementioned versatility is a huge ploy for clubs, and Sunderland’s relegation to League 1 should push the deal forward. His style of play is reminiscent of Harry Maguire – well-built and imposing – andMcNair will be chomping at the bit to prove himself in the Premier League again,
His ability to cover positions for the much-praised duo of Shane Duffy and Lewis Dunk will be useful, not only from a defensive point of view. He is a threat at the other end of the pitch, too, chipping in with five goals from 16 appearances at centre-back and defensive midfield last term.
There are mixed reports on the price of the deal, but The Sun’s report mentions an initial transfer fee of £5m with add-ons, taking it up towards the £7m mark.
Whilst this may seem a lot of money for a player with marginal top-flight experience, Sunderland have no need to sell. The buffer of relegation funds allows them to keep their top players if necessary.
However, McNair has asked Sunderland for permission to move, unwilling to spend a season in League One, with the option of genuine game-time at a Premier League side on the table.
Whatever the Northern Ireland international costs the club, Brighton have had a terrific start to the transfer window and further bolstering their squad will hold them in good stead for their second-ever season in the top flight.