Sunderland have signed midfielder Liam Bridcutt from Brighton, their fifth acquisition of the January transfer window.
The Premier League club confirmed the news in a tweet from their official Twitter account:
A big Wearside welcome to Liam Bridcutt, who has officially completed his move from Brighton. pic.twitter.com/bfZJpJdkZm— Sunderland AFC (@SAFCofficial) January 31, 2014
The Scotland international, 24, has signed a three-and-a-half year deal with the Black Cats, who moved out of the Premier League's relegation zone following a 1-0 win against Stoke on Wednesday evening.
Bridcutt arrives at Sunderland with a big reputation after coming through Chelsea's ranks and winning Brighton's Player of the Year award for 2012 and 2013, as well as helping them win the League One title in 2011 and reach the Championship play-offs in 2013.
And having previously worked with Sunderland manager Gus Poyet at Brighton, he is sure to figure heavily in the club's plans.
His arrival could signal the departure of Lee Cattermole, who has been linked with a move to Stoke, per The Sentinel, and he would represent a significant upgrade to a player with a questionable temperament, who was stripped of his role as captain at the beginning of the season.
In the Independent, Sam Wallace reports that Poyet is planning major changes at the club, with Sebastian Larsson, Jack Colback and Craig Gardner all out of contract in the summer.
Bridcutt comes to Sunderland having not played since handing in a transfer request at Brighton earlier in January but once he regains full fitness he is capable of having a good career at Premier League level.
He is a bright midfielder capable of doing an all-round job, winning the ball and distributing possession, but the attacking side of his game needs more work.
Sky Sports echoes that assessment and backs the player to help Sunderland climb further away from the bottom of the Premier League table:
A solid signing for the Black Cats and a player with the ability to establish himself as a more than useful Premier League player. While Cattermole has been a good servant for the club, Bridcutt is evidently more in tune with Poyet's ideas and should prove an effective if unspectacular addition.
Poyet is slowly changing Sunderland's footballing philosophy, which has become confused following a number of managerial changes in recent years.
If the former Chelsea and Tottenham midfielder is given time to impose his style on the side, with players like Bridcutt key to that, then Sunderland can become an established mid-table Premier League side.