Confirmed: First Signing Of The Summer

safc.com

West Bromwich Albion defender Billy Jones joins Sunderland on a free transfer.

After the departures of Phil Bardsley and Andrea Dossena, as well as Marcos Alonso and Santiago Vergini returning to their parent clubs after their loan deals expired, Sunderland have moved quickly to strengthen the full back position with the signing of West Bromwich Albion full back Billy Jones.

Jones, who rejected the offer of a new deal at West Brom, has agreed a four-year contract at Sunderland and will join the club on a Bosman free transfer on July 1.

Speaking to safc.com, Jones was delighted with his move to the Stadium of Light;

I'm really happy to be here and I'm looking forward to getting back for pre-season and kicking on.

I've played at the Stadium of Light a number of times so I know what it's about and what great backing the club has.

I've come to the training ground today and it's amazing. I knew I was signing for a massive club with everything in place to kick on up the league and carry on moving forward.

The defender started his career at Crewe Alexandra and made a free transfer move to Preston North End after making 143 appearances for the Railwaymen. Jones impressed for Preston during his four seasons at Deepdale but left the club for West Brom, again on a free transfer, after being awarded player of the season in his final season at the club.

When he first joined the Baggies, it was as cover for first choice right back Steven Reid but despite being cover still made 17 appearances in his first Premier League season. He was then a regular for West Brom in the following two seasons, injuries permitting, and the Director of Football Administration at West Brom Richard Garlick said the club were disappointed by his decision to leave the club;

Following further talks with Billy's representative, we made our final offer last week - a long-term deal on vastly-improved terms based on Billy's contribution over the past three years.

Billy rejected this and has exercised his right to run down his contract with a view to joining Sunderland.

We're obviously disappointed by Billy's decision but wish him well in his future career.

With there being no guarantees that Billy would re-sign, we have been preparing for this scenario and will pursue the options we have been exploring in the right-back position.

A right back by trade, Jones can also play all across the back line, so although he is likely to be our first choice right back, he will provide useful cover in central defence and left back. A versatility that Poyet sees as key to how he wants to set up his squad;

In any squad, if we play 4-3-3 - my system - I like to have three goalkeepers and seven defenders, NOT eight.

I want two players for place in the other positions, but not at the back - I like to use that extra player somewhere else, so you can have a squad of 23.

If one of the defenders can give you the option to play somewhere else, it helps you.

When you've got a centre-half who is only a centre-half, you need a full-back who can play both sides.

Stay tuned to Roker Report throughout the summer as we keep you up to date with this and all other transfer news and rumours. Also, feel free to keep in touch with our dedicated Transfer Centre, which you can do by CLICKING HERE.

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