WIGAN boss Steve Bruce is on the verge of being appointed Sunderland manager after the two clubs agreed a compensation package.<br /><br />A deal could be completed as early as today after Sunderland officials flew to Portugal, where Bruce is on holiday, to open talks.<br /><br />Wigan chairman Dave Whelan had demanded £3m to release Bruce from his contract – the same fee the sportswear tycoon paid Birmingham City to acquire Bruce in 2007. However, it is not known how much Sunderland have agreed to pay to make Bruce the successor to Ricky Sbragia, who resigned after the team’s Premier League survival was confirmed on the last day of the season.<br /><br />If he takes charge Bruce is likely to have access to a substantial transfer kitty, after American Ellis Short assumed full control of the club last week. In contrast, Bruce's willingness to leave Wigan is thought to have been aided by a shortage of funds. <br /><br />The team's form plummeted after selling England striker Emile Heskey and star midfielder Wilson Palacios in January, while winger Luis Antonio Valencia looks certain to leave this summer. Despite the high-profile departures, Bruce still guided Wigan to 11th in the Premier League – their second best top-flight finish. Better still will be expected at the Stadium of Light, with Short demanding a top-10 place despite only avoiding the drop by two points.<br /><br />Whelan is keen for Bruce's future to be resolved quickly in order to put a successor in place, with former Wigan midfielder Roberto Martinez strongly linked. <br /><br />Martinez, 35, is in demand after leading Swansea to the League One title in his first full season and following it up with an eighth-place finish in the Championship. Celtic also want Martinez and made an official approach yesterday.