Malbranque set for St Etienne move

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Steed Malbranque appears set to return to his native France after Sunderland boss Steve Bruce admitted the midfielder's future lay elsewhere.

Bruce indicated he is willing to let the 31-year-old leave the Stadium of Light, with reports in France surfacing on Wednesday that he had already undergone a medical at St Etienne.

He told the Sunderland Echo: "Of course, Steed has done remarkably well for the club over the last two or three years, but it's maybe time that he moves on and we wish him well. I think it's in advanced talks so maybe there'll be something to report there soon."

He continued: "We've decided to say okay, which is inevitable with the amount of people we've brought in and the balance of the squad."

Should Malbranque sign it would end a 10-year stay in English football that has seen him appear for Fulham and Tottenham before joining the Black Cats in 2008.

Bruce revealed Marcos Angeleri and George McCartney could also follow the Frenchman through the exit door in the coming days as he looks to balance the books after bringing in a host of new names.

Bruce has already welcomed the likes of John O'Shea and Wes Brown from Manchester United while Craig Gardner, Sebastian Larsson and Connor Wickham have also moved to the north-east.

"I would envisage there'll be two or three leaving the club in the next few days," Bruce added.

"It looks like Angeleri might be going back to Argentina and there's a possibility that George McCartney might be going out too."

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