GUS POYET admits bargain buy Liam Bridcutt was at the top of his wish-list from the early days of his Sunderland reign.
Sunderland’s month-long pursuit of Bridcutt reached a successful conclusion yesterday morning after the defensive midfielder completed his switch to the Stadium of Light on a three-and-a-half year deal for an undisclosed fee, thought to be around £2.5million.
Poyet had been looking to land Bridcutt from Brighton throughout the transfer window after the former Chelsea youngster made his name during the Uruguayan’s stewardship at the Amex Stadium.
Sunderland saw a £2million offer rejected by Brighton earlier in January, while Bridcutt saw a transfer request turned down by the Seagulls.
But after finally getting his man, Poyet believes he has pulled off a transfer coup in landing the 24-year-old for an extra £500,000.
Poyet told the Echo: “As soon as we started playing the system I wanted to play (at Sunderland) and knowing the importance of that role, I started checking if it was a possibility.
“You never know if he’s available or the price they will put on his head. Sometimes it’s possible, sometimes not.
“But it was an easy option.
“He’s British which is very, very important. It’s difficult to get British players.
“We are getting a very important player, who understands that role in the middle of the park.
“And the price... it’s a bargain. Absolute perfection. It’s impossible to do better.”
Bridcutt’s experience has been limited to League One and the Championship, yet Poyet has no fears that he will be able to make the grade in the Premier League.
And after seeing Bridcutt on the training ground at the Academy of Light for the first time yesterday, Poyet was even more convinced that he will gel with his new team-mates.
Poyet added: “I saw him train yesterday and it was kind of a relief. I thought ‘oh yeah, nice to have you Liam’.
“I know what he is going to do. He can have a bad day; a few bad games.
“But at the end of the day, I know what I’m going to get. I know how he trains, how he behaves and what he brings to the team.
“Even yesterday, he was saying to a couple of players: ‘go over there’.“