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Sunderland have won the race for a player in whom both Newcastle United and Leeds United were also credited with an interest – despite claims the Mackems made ‘poor’ compensation offers.

Teamtalk reported earlier this month that Sunderland were set to beat a host of clubs, including Newcastle and Leeds, to sign the 21-year-old midfielder Josh Hawkes from Hartlepool United.

And the move was finally confirmed by the Wearside club on Tuesday.

Speaking to The Hartlepool Mail afterwards, the Pools manager Dave Challinor said Hawkes had been close to joining Sunderland for around three months.

And the deal, it seems, may have happened faster had the Mackems offered better terms for the Hartlepool academy player, who turned down a new contract at Victoria Park, early on.

But, lucky for Sunderland, they avoided being gazumped by the likes of Newcastle or Leeds, who like the Magpies boast a Premier League budget now.

FIFA 21 – Official Career Mode Trailer | PS4

FIFA 21 – Official Career Mode Trailer | PS4

“Hawkesy has been close with Sunderland for the past three months or so,” Challinor said.

“They initially made contact with the club and made compensation offers which were, poor, shall we say and not acceptable.

“But now it’s not something that concerns me, Josh has moved on from the club so it’s not something for me to deal with.

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“In terms of the club, the people who are paid to do those jobs will do them, I certainly think we should be getting compensation for the move because he was made an offer a long time ago which was not accepted.

“Now he’s moved to Sunderland as an under-24 player so that ticks a lot of boxes but it’s not something that’s going to affect me in terms of the squad we’ve got moving forward.”

Though Hawkes was no longer attached to Hartlepool when Sunderland signed him, a fee must be agreed between the two clubs, or decided at a tribunal hearing if they fail to reach an accord.

Is Sunderland, not Newcastle or Leeds, the best move for Hawkes?

In other news, ‘Probably fifth choice’: Paul Merson sends transfer warning to Liverpool