Stoke sign Sunderland defender Bardsley

Stoke City have made Sunderland right-back Phil Bardsley their first signing of the summer, landing the 28-year-old on a free transfer, the Stoke Sentinel has reported.

The deal comes after Bardsley declined the offer of a new contract at the Stadium of Light, and so leaves after six years, during which he has helped the club establish themselves as a Premier League club.

Despite being cast aside during the five-month reign of Paulo Di Canio after some disciplinary issues, Bardsley was immediately restored to the first-team set-up on Wearside by successor Gustavo Poyet, and he went on to score four times in 34 appearances.

He now becomes the second player already to leave Sunderland for one of their Premier League rivals since the season came to an end, after Craig Gardner moved back to the West Midlands to join West Bromwich Albion on Tuesday.

As for Stoke, the signing of Bardsley represents the addition of a natural right-back to the Britannia Stadium, as it was a position that manager Mark Hughes struggled to fill in his first season in charge. Natural midfielder Geoff Cameron often played in the role, with Ryan Shotton and Andy Wilkinson somewhat out-of-favour.

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