Confirmed: Defender Leaves For Stoke

Alex Livesey

Sunderland's summer exodus continues, with the longest serving player opting to depart.

Phil Bardsley has turned down an opportunity to remain at Sunderland after signing a three-year contract with Premier League rivals Stoke City.

Bardsley, 28, joined the Black Cats from Manchester United in 2008 after a number of loan spells at clubs including Rangers, Aston Villa, and Royal Antwerp. Establishing himself in the first team picture at Sunderland, Bardsley collected the Black Cats' Player of the Year award at the end of the 2010-2011 season.

Struggling to maintain that stellar form however, he endured a mixed last season at the club. Ostracised from the first team by manager Paolo Di Canio after he was pictured partying in a Casino late at night, he was promptly reinstated into the first team by the Italian's successor Gus Poyet. Netting important goals against Manchester City in the Premier League and Manchester United in the League Cup, it was understood that Poyet wished to keep Bardsley on Wearside.

However the Scotland international has spurned the opportunity to remain at the Stadium of Light and will swap the red and white stripes of Sunderland for those of Stoke.

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