Sunderland manager Mick McCarthy is hoping to sign Republic of Ireland midfielder Colin Healey by the weekend.
Healy played under McCarthy for the Republic of Ireland
The former Celtic midfielder, who spent a spell last season on loan at Coventry, has held talks with the Black Cats and agreed personal terms as well as passing a medical.
McCarthy would like to complete Healy's transfer in time for Saturday's First Division opening game at Nottingham Forest, but the move is being held up by red tape.
Under Fifa rules no compensation is due to a player's former club once he reaches the age of 23 - Healy was 23 in March - but there remains a grey area involving transfers between English, Irish and Scottish clubs.
Healy and his agent are now trying to resolve that issue.
Healy has won rave notices from his nine appearances for his country, but started just 27 games in his four years at Celtic Park.
Aston Villa, Everton and Leeds have all been linked with Healy and McCarthy could well lose out on the player to a club on a stronger financial footing.