Sunderland have beaten off Premier League competition to sign Josh Hawkes from Hartlepool, according to TEAMtalk.
The League One club have snapped up the 21-year-old, despite rival interest from northern rivals Newcastle United, along with Leeds United and Middlesbrough.
Hawkes is a left winger who can also play in central midfield and at No.10.
The 21-year-old’s contract has expired and he is poised to move to Sunderland on a free transfer.
Hawkes has made 63 appearances for Hartlepool in total, scoring 13 goals and registering one assist.
He has only played twice in League Two, making the majority of his appearances in the National League, but the interest shown in him speaks to how good he could be.
He is now poised to become a League One player with Sunderland, where he will hope to take the next step in his career.
A separate TEAMtalk report states that both Newcastle and Middlesbrough had watched Hawkes continuously, with their scouts checking on his progress.
They were not able to agree a deal, however, while Sunderland did manage to get the deal over the line.