Sunderland closing in on Welbeck

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The Independent Online

Sunderland boss Steve Bruce hopes to complete the signing of Manchester United striker Danny Welbeck on a season-long loan later today.

The 19-year-old has been linked with the Black Cats for much of the summer and, following the sale of Kenwyne Jones to Stoke yesterday, United boss Sir Alex Ferguson has allowed Welbeck to travel to the Stadium of Light.

Bruce said: "We're very close to bringing in young Danny Welbeck from Manchester United. He's a young man but he'll fit into our squad fantastically well.

"We've got him here this morning. It looks like the formalities are done as long as he comes through the medical and we hope to announce him later on today."

Bruce, though, remains on the lookout for another striker after recouping £8million from the sale of Trinidad & Tobago international Jones.

"It would be unfair to say that he (Welbeck) is the replacement for Kenwyne," added Bruce. "There's still a couple of weeks to go in the market and hopefully the money is there to go and spend it."

And the Sunderland boss revealed he would be interested in Wales forward Craig Bellamy, who appears to be surplus to requirements at Manchester City, although he could be out of the Black Cats' price range.

Bruce said: "There's a lot of clubs who would love Craig Bellamy. He's a fantastic player but whether it's possible, I'm not quite sure.

"I've been a big admirer of Craig's for a long, long time. If he's available, which it looks like he is, and if we could afford him, then I would love to bring Craig to the football club."

Jones did not appear to leave Sunderland on the best of terms, saying yesterday: "Sometimes circumstances happen that you have to leave."

Remarks attributed to Bruce also hinted at a breakdown in relations but, although he admitted there had been "ups and downs" with the 25-year-old, he insisted it was purely a footballing decision to allow him to join Stoke.

He said: "I've never made any comment.I think Kenwyne needs a fresh challenge and the money that we've got will enable me to strengthen the squad further.

"On his day he's unplayable, but I wanted it every day. I shook him by the hand yesterday. We had a few ups and downs but I wish him the best of luck and hope he reignites himself."