Sunderland have beaten a host of clubs to Hartlepool starlet Josh Hawkes, TEAMtalk can reveal.
The 21-year-old has been on the radar of Leeds, Newcastle and Middlesbrough, but Sunderland have now agreed terms.
The Black Cats are set to announce a deal on Monday, and he follows former Pools team-mate Kenton Richardson in moving to Wearside.
Hawkes has been part of the first team at Hartlepool since 2017, making his debut in League Two. He has featured in the National League over the past three seasons.
The midfielder made 22 appearances last season and scored two goals. The year before, he enjoyed a prolific campaign, scoring nine times in 32 games.
Now, he is ready to make the step up into the EFL, with Sunderland giving him the chance to play in League One.
Hawkes had a range of suitors this summer, and there were even offers from abroad.
However, he will now join Sunderland, who are among the favourites to gain promotion from League One this season.