LOUIS Saha described his move to Sunderland as a “pleasure” and declared himself fit to face Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium in tomorrow’s Premier League opening match.
The 34-year-old striker of many clubs agreed a 12-month deal with the Wearsiders and manager Martin O’Neill backed the Frenchman, whose past injury problems are well known, to prove himself a vital addition to a squad which still needs strengthening.
Saha was released by Tottenham in May and becomes Sunderland’s second Bosman signing of the summer after Carlos Cuellar.
During his years in England he has played for Fulham, Manchester United, Everton and, of course, Newcastle United and now Sunderland.
Saha said: “This is a great opportunity for me.
“I am really pleased to play for such a club and I look forward to working hard for the team.
“Sunderland have very passionate fans and I believe the club can achieve many things. It is a pleasure to be here and I’m delighted with my choice.”
When asked whether he could be thrown into the team to face Arsenal, Saha said: “I have been working really hard so I am not far from full fitness.
“I will be available this weekend – if the manager picks me – and it will be nice to be back in the Premier League.”
O’Neill is still on the lookout for another striker, but the Steven Fletcher situation remains the same.
Wolves do not want to sell unless Sunderland offer them £15million plus a player on loan, either Fraizer Campbell or Connor Wickham.
Jermain Defoe, as revealed by The Journal, is wanted by O’Neill, but yesterday new Tottenham boss Andre Villas-Boas revealed he had spoken to the player’s agent this week about him staying at White Hart Lane.
Sunderland fans will fear this move for Saha smacks of some desperation as a rather disappointing transfer window, so far, is coming to a close with only two new additions.
However, the manager moved quickly to talk about his latest signing’s attributes.
O’Neill said: “Louis is a striker whose abilities have been proven at the very highest level and he brings with him a raft of experience of top-flight football.
“I’m sure he will be a great addition to our squad in an area we recognise needs strengthening.
“I am delighted we have been able to complete the deal ahead of our first game of the season.”
Saha (pictured below) certainly made all the right noises yesterday by talking up his new manager and the club’s supporters.
He added: “He (O’Neill) has great experience and has been successful wherever he’s been. This is a great chance to play under him.
“I played against Sunderland for a good few years and you can’t help but notice what a hard place the Stadium of Light is to come to because the fans have unbelievable passion.”