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50-50: Liverpool vs. Real Madrid

Champions League 9 hours ago
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By ESPN Staff
Aug 29, 2007

Keane signs Harte, Higg and Jones

Sunderland manager Roy Keane continues to surround himself with familiar faces at the Stadium of Light, with former team-mates Danny Higginbotham and Ian Harte both joining the club alongside new £6million striker Kenwyne Jones today.

In a busy day of transfer of activity at the club, forward Stern John has gone in the opposite direction as Jones, joining Southampton.

The trio of signings represent decisive action from the Black Cats boss as he pores over his team's 3-0 reverse at the hands of Championship side Luton in the Carling Cup second-round last night and take his tally of summer arrivals to 12.

Jones, a 22-year-old Trinidad & Tobago international, effectively went on strike last week after declaring he no longer wanted to play for the Saints and - although fellow Premiership newcomers Derby were reported to be interested - Sunderland made their move.

Keane told the club's website: 'I'm delighted that Kenwyne is a Sunderland player. He was very keen to join this club and that is always a good thing.

'He is a big strong boy who is quick and athletic too. He has real physical presence and is the type of player we've been missing.''

Defensive pair Higginbotham and Harte both played alongside their new manager before his retirement and join a growing number of former colleagues signed by the 36-year-old since his appointment a year ago.

Former Leeds full-back Harte, who has moved to Wearside on a free transfer after a successful trial, was a Republic of Ireland team-mate of Keane, who was at Manchester United at the same time as Higginbotham.

The 28-year-old centre-half, who will cost £3million from Stoke, started his career at Old Trafford but made just seven senior appearances before leaving for Derby.

Manchester United alumni Dwight Yorke, Andy Cole, Liam Miller and Kieran Richardson have been united on Wearside, while defensive pair Stanislav Varga and Ross Wallace shared a pitch with their boss during his time with Celtic.

Striker David Connolly and midfielder Graham Kavanagh, like Miller and Harte, played with Keane at international level.

Keane has expressed his delight at agreeing terms with players he knows and trusts, with Harte signing a one-year deal and Higginbotham agreeing terms on a four-year contract.

He said: 'I've played alongside Ian and I know the qualities he can bring to our club. You need a big squad in the Premier League and he will add strength to ours.

'And I'm pleased that after long negotiations we've signed a player of Danny's quality.

'I know him personally and he's a great character. He can play at centre-half or left-back so his versatility will be a big plus for us.''

Harte, meanwhile, is eager to re-establish himself in English football.

The full-back was a key member of the Leeds side that briefly challenged for honours at the top of the Barclays Premier League and reached the Champions League semi-final in 2001 before falling victim to relegation and financial meltdown.

Since then he has spent three years in Spain with Valencia-based Levante, who released him this summer.

Harte, 29, said: 'It's great to be back in the Premier League and I'm raring to go. I want to get playing as soon as possible.

'This is a good opportunity for me at a massive club like Sunderland and there are plenty of Irish lads here to make me feel welcome.'