Larsson joins new-look Sunderland

London: Sebastian Larsson linked up with manager Steve Bruce for the second time in his career after joining Premier League Sunderland on a free transfer on Friday.

The Sweden midfielder`s arrival at the Stadium of Light coincided with that of former Coventry goalkeeper Keiren Westwood.

Larsson was signed by Bruce for Birmingham, relegated from the top flight last season, from Arsenal in January 2007 following a successful loan spell.

"I have worked with the manager before and that obviously made the decision easier, but mainly it feels like it is a huge club and it feels like a great challenge for me," the 26-year-old Larsson told SAFC TV.

"I want to take the next step in my career and I really feel I can do that coming to Sunderland."

Bruce added: "Seb was a fantastic young player for me at Birmingham and he has matured into a very good midfielder.

"He has been courted by a number of top clubs over the summer - both in England and across Europe -- so we are naturally delighted that he has chosen to come to Sunderland."

Meanwhile, Westwood hoped his move to Sunderland would boost his chances of challenging Shay Given for the Republic of Ireland goalkeeper`s jersey after he signed a three-year deal.

"Obviously, that is very difficult. Shay Given is an amazing goalkeeper and he has dominated the goalkeeping situation for Ireland for many years now," Westwood said.

Westwood, who has seven senior caps to date, will challenge Belgium international Simon Mignolet for the goalkeeper`s spot at his new club at the start of next season with Scotland`s Craig Gordon sidelined by a knee injury.

The double signing brings Sunderland`s close-season tally to date to six following the arrivals of Ahmed Elmohamady, Connor Wickham, Ji Dong-Won and Craig Gardner.

Bureau Report

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