Stoke sign £5m Whitehead

Stoke have completed the signing of Sunderland midfielder Dean Whitehead for an initial fee of £3m, which could rise to £5m.

The 27-year-old, who had been in talks with the Potters for some time and did not fly out to the Algarve with the rest of the Black Cats squad this week, has agreed a four-year contract.

Whitehead, who has ended a five-year spell at the Stadium of Light, will be reunited with former Sunderland team-mates Liam Lawrence, Rory Delap and Danny Higginbotham and another ex-Black Cat in goalkeeper Thomas Sorensen.

He could make his Stoke debut in tomorrow's friendly at Preston North End.

"I'm delighted to be here. I've known of the club's interest for about six months or so now so it has gone on for a while," said Whitehead.

"But like I say everything is sorted now and I'm very happy it's all done and dusted.

"The manager (Tony Pulis) has been brilliant, I have spoken to him a few times. He has great plans for this place and as soon as I heard what he said I wanted to be part of it.

"Last year was a fantastic season for everyone here and hopefully I can help push the club on even more."

The midfielder told Stoke City Player: "There are a few lads here I already know which I'm sure will help me settle in.

"I know Lenny (Lawrence) very well and we know each other's games inside out so hopefully we can show that on the pitch and work well together here."

Pulis said the signing of Whitehead, who made almost 200 appearances for Sunderland, showed the Potters could be a force to be reckoned with in their second Barclays Premier League campaign.

"Dean is a fantastic player and a great acquisition for this football club," he said.

"He is someone I and my backroom staff have admired for a long time and to have managed to have brought him here signals our intent for the upcoming season.

"Dean is a box-to-box midfielder who has a great engine and he is a player I am looking forward to working with."

Chief executive Tony Scholes added: "We are delighted to have completed our first major signing of the summer transfer window.

"Dean is a player who possesses plenty of top-flight experience and has proven leadership qualities having captained Sunderland for the past few years."