Black Cats close on Gardner

Sunderland move for Birmingham ace

Gardner: Set for Sunderland after Birmingham accepted an offer in excess of £5million

Sky Sports sources understand that Sunderland are set to seal a deal for Birmingham's Craig Gardner.

The Blues have already conceded a number of their players would be leaving following relegation to the Championship and midfield ace Gardner has been attracting a great deal of interest.

Closely linked to both the North East's Premier League clubs, Sunderland have stepped up their interest and look set to land his signature.

The Black Cats are understood to have lodged a bid in excess of £5million which Birmingham have accepted.

Now the 24-year-old looks set to leave his home-town club, just 18 months after arriving from Aston Villa.

Despite Birmingham's relegation last year, Gardner was hugely impressive last term in scoring 11 goals from midfield.