Malbranque leaves Sunderland

Fans' favourite Steed Malbranque has left Sunderland.

Fans' favourite Steed Malbranque has left Sunderland.

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ST ETIENNE have confirmed the signing of Steed Malbranque from Sunderland.

The Ligue 1 outfit have agreed a two-year deal for the 31-year-old midfielder, who returns to his native France for an undisclosed fee.

A statement on www.asse.fr read: "It's official. Steed Malbranque is a St Etienne player. The midfielder is committed to ASSE for two seasons."

Sunderland manager told the Echo today that he expected Malbranque, who began his career at St Etienne's rivals Lyon, would go.

"Of course, Steed has done remarkably well for the club over the last two or three years, but it's maybe time that he moves on and we wish him well," said Bruce.

Malbranque’s move to France ends a 10-year stay in English football, during which time he made a total of 336 Premier League appearances.

After impressing at Lyon following his debut for the club in 1998, Malbranque secured a move to Fulham in 2001 for a reported £4.5million. He scored 10 goals for the Cottagers in his first season and went on to make over 200 appearances for the west London club.

Malbranque transferred to Tottenham in the summer of 2006, going on to make over 60 appearances, before joining Sunderland in 2008.