Manchester City defender Wayne Bridge joins Brighton on season-long loan


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The Independent Football

Manchester City's Wayne Bridge has dropped down to the npower Championship and joined Brighton on a season-long loan deal.

The 31-year-old former England left-back moved to the Etihad Stadium from Chelsea in 2009 but has endured a torrid time in recent years, having been frozen out by manager Roberto Mancini.

Bridge was farmed out to West Ham and Sunderland over the past two seasons and has now agreed another loan that will see him spend next campaign at Brighton.

Seagulls manager Gus Poyet revealed Bridge has been one of his main summer targets and is delighted to be able to bring in the former Southampton defender.

"It's difficult to say how I happy I am because it's not easy to get top-class players," Poyet told the club's official website,

"I'm absolutely delighted to have Wayne with us. He's been one of the top three left-backs in this country for many years.

"There were a lot of things that had to come together to make it happen.

"Firstly, David Platt has been great at Manchester City and then Wayne and his agent have helped a lot too.

"It was not an easy one to secure, but this is what we want at this club. He's a quality player with lots of international experience.

"Wayne has played at the top of English football for a long time.

"We have all got to learn from him and I'm sure that he will have a very good season with us.

"It's going to be very nice to sit back and watch him on the pitch."

Bridge begun his career at local club Southampton, where he graduated from the club's fabled academy and became a first-team regular.

The left-back was an integral player for Saints and helped them reach the 2003 FA Cup final, before joining Chelsea for £7million that summer.

Bridge spent six years with the west Londoners, winning the 2004/05 Premier League and then the FA Cup and League Cup double in 2007.

The Winchester-born player was considered one of the best English left-backs at that time, but found playing time at Stamford Bridge limited by Ashley Cole.

Having spent an spell loaned to Fulham in 2006, he moved to Manchester City for £12m in January 2009.

Bridge made 58 appearances during his time at the Etihad Stadium and spent time on loan at West Ham and Sunderland, before joining Brighton this afternoon.