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By ESPN Staff
Jun 30, 2011

Gardner signs for Sunderland

Sunderland have confirmed midfielder Craig Gardner has joined the club from Birmingham on a three-year contract for an undisclosed fee.

• Wickham joins Sunderland
• Sunderland tie up Ji deal

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

The former Aston Villa player scored 10 Premier League goals last season but it was not enough to keep the club in the top flight.

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 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 the club's official website: "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.

"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.''

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