Photo by Srdjan Stevanovic/Bongarts/Getty Images

Free-agent centre-back Arbenit Xhemajli could be a Sunderland player before the new season kicks off this weekend, with a medical expected to take place in the coming days, according to the Northern Echo.

While the future of the Wearside giants is as uncertain as ever off the pitch, a promising transfer window has at least raised hopes that their third season at League One level will also be their last.

Although Sunderland have been left frustrated in their pursuits of Scott Fraser, Luke Garbutt and former striker Danny Graham, Aiden O’Brien, Remi Matthews, Bailey Wright and Morgan Feeney have arrived.

9 Starting XIs More Expensive Than Bayern Munich’s

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Phil Parkinson’s side succeeded in snapping up four players without spending a penny in transfer fees and, after his release was confirmed by Swiss outfit Neutchal Xamax last month, Xhemajli could take that tally to five.

The Kosovo international central defender has been on trial with Sunderland this summer and even featured in a 3-1 victory over Gateshead a fortnight ago, hitting the bar with a powerful header which highlighted his aerial prowess.

Photo by Marcio Machado/Eurasia Sport Images/Getty Images

Xhemalji has returned to Switzerland after his trial period ended but a return is on the cards. The Echo reports that the 23-year-old will soon jet in to undergo a medical.

He could even make his competitive debut during the EFL Cup first round clash against Hull City on Saturday.

Photo by Marcio Machado/Eurasia Sport Images/Getty Images

In other news, Report: Benitez makes U-turn on £80k-a-week Everton man, but exit door is still waiting