Sunderland midfielder Lee Cattermole is edging closer towards a move to Stoke City, sources at the Wearside club have informed ESPN.
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Cattermole, 25, who joined the Black Cats from Wigan Athletic at a cost of 6 million pounds in 2009, was replaced as club captain by John O'Shea at the start of the campaign, and started the season on the fringes of the first team under Paolo Di Canio.
Returning to the starting eleven following Gustavo Poyet's arrival in October, the former England U21 international has endured mixed form in the Premier League.
Sent off against Hull City in November, it represented the seventh dismissal of his professional career, something which it appears has not dissuaded Mark Hughes from attempting to sign the player.
With the Black Cats demanding in the region of 5 million pounds for Cattermole, sources close to the club have also indicated to ESPN that the deal would pave the way for Brighton's Liam Bridcutt to join the club.
An important member of Poyet's side during his time with the Seagulls, the Uruguayan has been unwilling to comment on speculation linking him to the player. Signed from Chelsea in 2010, the Scotland international was left out of Brighton's squad at the weekend.
“He was available for selection but he spoke with Nathan [Jones, Brighton assistant manager] and he said that maybe he would not be focused on the game 100 per cent," Brighton manager Oscar Garcia told the Argus. "A lot of things are happening around him and he was honest and for this he didn’t play.”