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Sunderland are closing in on the signing of Carl Winchester, with Lee Johnson expected to reunite with the Forest Green Rovers captain this month, as reported by the Sunderland Echo.

Speaking seven years ago, during their time together at Oldham Athletic, Johnson obviously felt that he had a future star on his hands in the adaptable, fresh-faced all-rounder.

“I am really pleased that Carl has signed his contract extension and is staying,” said the then-Latics boss after Winchester committed his future to the Boundary Park club.

“I know Carl wants to play in midfield, but I want to have a look at him at right-back because I think he has the potential to be a top class right-back.” 

How Footballers Wages Have Changed Since 2005

How Footballers Wages Have Changed Since 2005

Flash forward to the present day and it seems Winchester has got his way.

The now-27-year-old is firmly established as a central midfielder rather than an all-action full-back, captaining Forest Green from his favoured number six role in front of the defence.

It remains to be seen what sort of a position he would occupy at Sunderland, however, with the Echo reporting that Winchester is expected to join the League One giants during the January window.

Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

The one-time Northern Ireland international has just six months left on his contract at a promotion-chasing Forest Green outfit and will therefore be available for a cut-price fee.

Sunderland are hardly short of central midfielders, from Grant Leadbitter to Max Power, George Dobson to Josh Scowen, but there remains a paucity of right-backs at Johnson’s disposal.

Could Winchester be about to return to his old right-sided role at the Stadium of Light?

Photo by Chris Donnelly/MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images

In other news, Newcastle are reportedly close to signing £25m star who's been injured since September