SUNDERLAND have confirmed the signing of midfielder Liam Bridcutt from Brighton on a three-half-year contract.
The length of contract indicates how much the 24-year-old Scottish international is part of head coach Gus Poyet’s long-term plans.
And Bridcutt could not have been happier to get the move rubber-stamped after protracted negotiations between the two clubs.
“It’s a great feeling for me, Sunderland’s a massive club and I’m really looking forward to it,” he said.
“The gaffer has had a big impact on my career and when I was given the opportunity to work for him again I was always going to take it.
“He’s a great manager and a great man and what he has done at Sunderland already is fantastic.
“For me, I’ve always wanted to play in the Premier League, and I’m pleased to get my chance now, we’ve got a great team and some great players and this is a massive chance for me.
“I’d love to make my debut in the derby and get straight in at the deep end.
“The role I play as a holding midfielder is all about controlling the game and reading the game and Gus Poyet has helped me tremendously in that role.
“I know how he wants it done and I’ve been taught his philosophy since I was a youngster at Chelsea.
“It’s very exciting to join a club of Sunderland’s level of support - when I was watching them play Man United the other day it looked amazing.
“The aim now for everyone is to stay up so that Gus can put in place what he wants next season in the Premier League. Personally, I’m just looking forward to my first few training sessions and settling in.”
The defensive midfielder, who has won Brighton’s Player of the Year award two seasons in a row is believed to have moved for a fee close to £3m, though neither club has disclosed the exact figure.
Bridcutt spent the first three years of his pro career at Chelsea, having loan spells at Yeovil Town, Watford and Stockport before joining Poyet at Brighton in 2010
The midfielder made over 150 appearances for the south coast side, 140 under Poyet, and fully understands the Sunderland coach’s footballing philosophy and the style in which he wants the game played.
Bridcutt’s career continues to progress steadily and last year he made his senior Scotland debut in a game against Serbia.
His arrival will inevitably put question marks over the future of ex-Sunderland skipper Lee Cattermole who prefers to play in the same defensive midfield role
Stoke City were believed to be waiting for the Bridcutt deal to go through before making a late bid for the Teessider in the last hours of the transfer window.
With Bridcutt’s transfer going through in time for him to be involved against Newcastle in tomorrow’s Tyne-Wear derby, he is likely be on the bench with fellow new signing Ignacio Scocco.
Bridcutt will wear the number 26 shirt for Sunderland, Scocco will wear number 30.