Sunderland have moved quickly to replace Phil Bardsley who departed the club last week to join Stoke City. His replacement in the right-back position comes in the form of Billy Jones who joins following a three-year spell with West Bromwich Albion.
Jones has signed a four-year-deal with The Mackems after refusing a contract extension with West Brom. The 27-year-old made 74 appearances during his time at The Hawthorns and always proved to be a reliable performer. Jones has been on the scene for some time now having made his debut for Crewe Alexandra at just 16. He went on to spend four years at Preston North End before getting a well deserved chance in the Premier League.
West Brom had hoped to persuade Jones to extend his three-year stay at the club. They confirmed that they had offered him improved terms but he rejected them and chose to sign with Sunderland.
Director of Football Administration, Richard Garlick, said: “Following further talks with Billy’s representative, we made our final offer last week – a long-term deal on vastly-improved terms based on Billy’s contribution over the past three years.
With West Brom having sacked two managers last season it perhaps isn't surprising that Jones didn't commit his future to the club due to the lack of stability. They are still without a manager which doesn't make it easy for a player who could be about to commit the next four-years of his career.
It would suggest however that Gus Poyet will be staying at Sunderland for the time being. There has been much discussion over his future but Jones must have asked for assurances over the manager's future before putting pen to paper.
It is no coincidence that things at West Brom have spiralled out of control since Dan Ashworth left the club to become the FA's director of elite development. He left last summer after West Brom had just achieved their highest ever finish in the Premier League. Since then they sacked Steve Clarke rather harshly before a strange appointment of Pepe Mel that didn't last long despite him keeping the club up.
So a move away from West Brom shouldn't come as too much of a surprise. Sunderland is a club with great potential but often find themselves battling against relegation. Need to rebuild the squad and ship out some deadwood this summer but could challenge for a top ten finish in the coming season. Jones has bought into the project and right now they are in a better position than West Brom due to the momentum gathered towards the end of last season and the excitement with Poyet in charge.