Report: Sunderland Agree To Sign French Defender

Roberge holds off Newcastle's Ameobi

Di Canio to make central defender his first signing.

According to a report on, Sunderland have agreed to sign French defender Valentin Roberge on a free transfer under the Bosman ruling.

Roberge, who is currently playing for Maritimo in the Portuguese Primeira Liga, is a 25-year-old central defender who has been a mainstay in the Maritimo defence since he signed for the club in 2010.

According to the report, Roberge is;

Fast over the ground and comfortable carrying the ball out of defence.

The French defender started his career at Guingamp and had a brief spell at Paris Saint-Germain. A two year spell at Greek club Aris followed before he found himself at Maritimo.

The 6'1" centre-back played twice against Newcastle United earlier in the season and helped the Portuguese side to 0-0 and 1-1 draws in the group stages of the Europa League.

There have been numerous clubs linked with the defender recently. Rennes, Lille, Lyon, Bordeaux. Nancy, FC Sevilla, Osasuna and West Bromwich Albion were all credited with an interest in November and Reading were said to be in advanced talks with the player in January.

Portuguese newspaper A Bola said, as recently as a couple of days ago, that Sporting Lisbon were interested in Roberge but that the defender is not interested in the Portuguese giants as he wishes to join a club in one of Europe's major leagues and it looks as if he may get that wish, with it looking as if Sunderland have won the race for him, with Di Canio set to make his first signing since being appointed.

The potential free transfer of Roberge comes hot on the heels of the agent of another central defender, Lazio's Modibo Diakite, claiming he would be honoured to speak to Sunderland, with Roberge's fellow French defender also out of contract in the summer.

It appears as if Di Canio's Sunderland revolution may be gathering pace.

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