ADAM Johnson could be handed his Sunderland bow in Tuesday’s Capital One Cup clash after completing a stunning £10million switch to the Stadium of Light.
Easington-born Johnson capped a remarkable day in the transfer market for Sunderland last night when he penned a four-year deal with the Black Cats, just hours after Steven Fletcher’s £12m switch from Wolves was completed.
Sunderland have not disclosed the fee on Johnson’s switch from Premier League champions Manchester City, although the Black Cats are thought to have paid around £10m for the 25-year-old to take their spending yesterday past £20m – their record outlay in a solitary day.
While Johnson was not registered in time for today’s first Stadium of Light Premier League outing of the season against Reading, the England international is in the frame to feature in Tuesday’s Capital One Cup second round clash against Morecambe.
Johnson said: “It feels fantastic. I was born here and there have been rumours in the past about me coming here.
“It’s great to have signed and it’s a fresh start.
“Coming back to the North East and Martin O’Neill were the two main factors, especially the gaffer and listening to what he had to say for me.
“He made it clear just how much he wanted me to come here. To know that and feel wanted and appreciated made me feel that it was the right choice to sign.
“He knows exactly what he wants from his players and from me personally. Hopefully he’ll give me plenty of confidence as well.”
Johnson’s move capped a frantic day of speculation and negotiations for Sunderland, although Martin O’Neill will simply be delighted to have signed both of his principle targets a week before the transfer deadline.
After overcoming a late glitch in talks over personal terms, Sunderland completed a deal for Fletcher before the noon registration deadline for today’s game.
At that point, O’Neill insisted a move for Johnson was still in the balance, with Spurs also firmly in the race for the former Middlesbrough winger.
But after Johnson and his agent arrived at the Academy of Light for talks in the afternoon, O’Neill was able to persuade the 11-time England international to return to the North East.
Although Sunderland could not match Johnson’s lucrative wages at Man City, the Black Cats put together an attractive package and coupled with the prospect of regular first-team football, it was enough to convince him to turn his back on European football with Spurs.
O’Neill said: “Adding quality players to the squad has been our main aim this summer and Adam certainly fits that bill.
“He has terrific ability, great delivery and I’m sure he is a player who will excite our fans.
“I couldn’t be more delighted to have him at the football club.”
Sunderland first tried to sign Johnson in January 2010 after he emerged as the key figure for Boro following their relegation to the Championship.
City were able to outmuscle the Black Cats financially, but despite impressing under Roberto Mancini, Johnson found himself as much in a substitute’s role as he was in the starting line-up.
Sunderland had continually been linked with a loan move for Johnson, but they made a £10m offer for him last week which matched City’s asking price.
At that stage, Sunderland were still not favourites with Spurs and another top eight club in the running, but the Black Cats persistence paid off and they completed a major transfer coup last night when he became the club’s fourth summer signing after Fletcher and Bosman arrivals Carlos Cuellar and Louis Saha.
Johnson added: “With the manager’s ambition and the players he’s brought in already, the club is progressing quickly and that’s another reason I wanted to sign.
“Sunderland mean business and the signings made suggest that.
“I want to perform on the pitch for the fans and I’m just looking forward to getting out there now.”