Sunderland have completed the signing of Manchester United defender Wes Brown for an undisclosed fee.
Brown, 31, has agreed a four-year deal with the Black Cats, who are also chasing his United colleagues John O’Shea and Darron Gibson.
Brown made his United debut in 1998 and went on to make 361 appearances.
“We are delighted to welcome a player of Wes’s ability, experience and character to the club,” said Sunderland manager Steve Bruce.
Brown won two Champions League titles, five Premier League winners’ medals, two FA Cups and two League Cups with the Red Devils.
However, the Da Silva twins, Fabio and Rafael, have moved above him in the pecking order to play at right-back and the arrival of Phil Jones to complement central defenders Rio Ferdinand, Nemanja Vidic and Chris Smalling, suggests that opportunities to play first-team football next season would have been limited at Old Trafford.
“He has been a fantastic professional for Manchester United through the years and not only will he strengthen our defensive options, he will also bring with him a winning mentality and level of maturity which can only be positive for the players around him,” said Bruce.
Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson hailed Brown’s impact on a successful period in United’s history and wished the former England man well at the Stadium of Light.
“Wes has been a great asset to the club during the most successful period in its history,” Ferguson told his club’s official website.
“He was a product of the youth system and marked himself out from an early age as one of his generation’s most natural defenders. In his time with us, he certainly became a favourite with the fans for his no-nonsense approach to the game and his infectious personality.
“It’s always the hardest of decisions to let loyal servants go. But life moves on and, unquestionably, Wes will get the chance to make a real contribution to Steve Bruce’s Sunderland and I’m delighted to be passing him into such good hands.
“Everyone connected with United wishes him a long and happy stay at Sunderland.”
Brown is expected to be joined at the Stadium of Light by O’Shea, 30, who travelled to Sunderland on Thursday for a medical, but the future of Gibson, 23, is less clear, with Newcastle also showing an interest.
Meanwhile, Sunderland chief executive Steve Walton and marketing and commercial director Lesley Callaghan are both to leave the club.