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Tuesday 20 May 2014

West Brom announce signing of Gardner on free transfer

Midfielder to move to Hawthorns after contract with Sunderland expires

Craig Gardner scored 11 BPL goals over three seasons with Sunderland

West Bromwich Albion have announced the signing of Craig Gardner, who will join on a free transfer on 1 July after his contrtact with Sunderland expires.

After passing a medical at The Hawthorns the 27-year-old Scotland midfielder has signed a three-year contract, plus a further year’s option in the club’s favour. Gardner will meet his new team-mates for the first time when he reports for pre-season training in early July.

“Craig is someone we have followed for a long time and we are delighted to finally get him,” West Brom’s director of football administration Richard Garlick said. “We tried to bring him here in the January transfer window but it did not work out.

“We have continued to track him and he has expressed a real desire to be at this club following interest from elsewhere. He has the flexibility to play in a few positions across the midfield, scores goals, and can slot in at right-back if required. He will bring a freshness to our midfield area and his character will suit our dressing room. We know we have a big summer ahead of us and it is great to get our first signing done so early.”

Gardner was born in nearby Solihull and came up through the ranks at Aston Villa, where he made his Barclays Premier League debut on Boxing Day 2005. He made 81 league appearances for Villa before switching to local rivals Birmingham City in in January 2010. He made 42 Barclays Premier League appearances for City, scoring nine goals, but left when the Blues were relegated to join Sunderland.

At Sunderland Gardner appeared 81 times in the Barclays Premier League over three seasons, with 11 goals.

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Key Points

  • West Bromwich Albion have announced the signing of Craig Gardner, who will join on a free transfer on 1 July
  • The 27-year-old Scotland midfielder has signed a three-year contract, plus a further year’s option in the club’s favour
  • Club praise player's flexibility to play in a few positions across the midfield