THE chance to play under Martin O’Neill persuaded Steven Fletcher to make the £12million move from Wolverhampton Wanderers.
Fletcher had been an unwitting player in one of the longest running sagas of the transfer window, his move from the Black Country club having taken plenty of twists and turns before yesterday’s denouement.
Sunderland finally got their man as Fletcher was unveiled as a Black Cat in time for today’s clash with Premier League new boys Reading.
Fletcher admitted staying in the top flight was a major factor behind his decision to place a transfer request with Wolves, but said the opportunity to work under O’Neill (right) was equally key for him.
He said: “I used to watch Celtic when I was in Scotland and no one has said a bad thing about the boss, they’ve always praised him. He’s had success wherever he has been and I’m looking forward to working with him.
“When I met him for the first time I knew moving to Sunderland was the right thing for me and my career right now.
“The signings he’s brought in are very positive, in addition to the squad we’ve already have.
“I watched training yesterday and the boys look very sharp.
“Hopefully we can have a good season, for me and the club.”
Relief and delight were the dual emotions as Fletcher finally put pen to paper on a four-year deal.
He added: “I’m delighted and relieved to be here. It’s taken a while, but I’m glad it’s finally done.
“When you come to the training ground and see the Stadium of Light it shows how big the club are.
“I’ve played here a few time, and the atmosphere is always good. I can’t fault it.
“It’s one of the main things for me, playing Premier League football, especially at a big club like Sunderland.
“I’m going to try and score goals if I can and we’ll hopefully win a few games.”