Steve Bruce lands Craig Gardner as Sunderland boost squad

SUNDERLAND manager Steve Bruce last night completed a transfer double when he snapped up Birmingham City midfielder Craig Gardner for an undisclosed fee.

The 24-year-old has signed a three-year deal after heading for Wearside on Wednesday to hold talks.

His arrival caps a good two days for the Black Cats, who earlier yesterday pushed through their move for South Korea striker Ji Dong-won after landing Connor Wickham on Wednesday.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Gardner, who is understood to have cost his new club in the region of 4.5 million, rising to 6 million, was City's top scorer last season and will be handed the task of providing goals from the middle of the park, where he is likely to take over from Jordan Henderson following his big-money switch to Liverpool.

The Solihull-born player is a boyhood Birmingham fan despite beginning his senior career with derby rivals Aston Villa, and helped the Blues to a famous Carling Cup final victory over Arsenal last season.

However, the club's relegation from the Barclays Premier League made his departure almost inevitable, and the Black Cats were quick to make their interest known and then persuade Gardner that his future lay at the Stadium of Light.

Gardner told SAFC TV: "It's unbelievable, to be honest. As soon as I found out Sunderland were interested, it was a no-brainer. Obviously, I have heard so much about Steve Bruce and his backroom staff and how good a chairman Niall Quinn is. It's such a massive club and their ambitions for this season meet my ambitions, and it was too good to turn down."

The midfielder, who scored ten goals in the last campaign, is confident he can bring the same potency to Wearside, where he is setting his sights high after hearing Bruce's recruitment plans, which have already landed him five new signings.

He said: "It means that the club wants to go places. Obviously, we want to finish as high up the table as we can - we want to be in Europe next year and it's a great task to go and chase. It's a good goal for us and we can go and do it, and I am sure we will."

Gardner's arrival was announced just hours after Sunderland confirmed that Ji had completed his protracted move to the Stadium of Light, also for an undisclosed fee and on a three-year contract.

The 20-year-old former Chunnam Dragons frontman will join record signing Asamoah Gyan and fellow new boy Wickham in a new-look front line, and he too has high hopes of making his mark.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

He said: "As a striker, I like to overwhelm defenders. My aim is to help the team get as many points as possible. That is what will give me satisfaction.

"I am so satisfied to be able to come to a good club, a nice club in the world's number one league. I am happy because I have a chance to challenge the biggest players, and that gives me motivation."