Titus Bramble was attempting to tie up his move to Sunderland in Portugal on Friday as the last remaining details of the transfer were finalised.
The 28-year-old Wigan defender headed out to the Algarve, where manager Steve Bruce and his players are in a pre-season training camp, looking to complete a switch to Wearside within 48 hours of the Black Cats formalising their interest in him.
Bruce is confident that the deal, which is now subject to medical and personal terms, will go through without a hitch to end his search for an experienced central defender.
The two men worked together during their time at Wigan, where Bramble rebuilt his career after a difficult five-year spell at Newcastle.
Should the formalities be completed, the Ipswich-born player could make his debut in Saturday evening's clash with Hull at the Stadio Municipal de Albufeira.
Sunderland drew 1-1 with League One Brighton at the same venue last night with Fraizer Campbell's late equaliser cancelling out Glenn Murray's first-half penalty.
However, as he closed in on a new defender, Bruce saw one of those already on board carried off on a stretcher.
Full-back George McCartney, who had just returned from a back problem, was forced off the field with an ankle injury during the second half of the match.
Bruce told Sunderland's official website: "We hope it's not too serious. He's twisted his ankle. We hope it's not too bad.
"We will have a look. It's a sore one, but we will see how he is."
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