Black Cats bag Murphy
By Paul Higham
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
Sunderland have signed West Brom goalkeeper Joe Murphy on a one-year deal.Sunderland have signed West Brom goalkeeper Joe Murphy on a one-year deal.
The 23-year-old has slipped down the pecking order at The Hawthorns and spent last season on loan at League One side Walsall.
Murphy had an unsuccessful trial with Oldham Athletic but has now bagged a move to Premiership newcomers Sunderland.
The arrival of Chris Kirkland at West Brom sealed Murphy's departure from The Baggies, and he will be hoping to taste Premiership action at The Stadium of Light.
Mick McCarthy has Kelvin Davies as his number one but with Mart Poom and Ben Alnwick not fully fit Murphy will provide cover.
Murphy will be on the bench for Saturday's Premiership curtain raiser against Charlton and hopes to make an immediate bid for a first team chance.
"Sunderland is a huge club with a passionate set of fans and although I will have some stern competition from the other goalkeepers here, I know the experience will make me a better player," Murphy told the club website.
"I really enjoyed getting some first team football under my belt at Walsall last season, hopefully I can force my way into Mick McCarthy's ideas once the season gets underway."
The Black Cats are also close to signing French midfielder Christian Bassila, who is thought to be discussing terms on a move to Wearside from Strasbourg.
Bassila has been training with Sunderland and it now seems that the club are trying to seal a deal for the 27-year-old before the start of the season.
McCarthy has had a busy summer in the transfer market but has not spent big money, with The Black Cats still wary of spending beyond their means.
Chairman Bob Murray says they are still in debt, but are delighted to be back in the big time once again and have had to work hard to balance the finances.
"We have attracted some of the bigger agents back," said Murray. "They went AWOL when we were relegated but they're starting to visit us again which is nice.
"I'd much rather be talking to an agent about getting a player than a banker.
"We tried to strike a fine balancing act, addressing the needs of the banks and our manager. The club's debt has not gone but we must start repaying it now when we are enjoying the good times.
"My hope for the new season is simply that we maintain our Premiership status.
"That is the target and I will not be going beyond that by setting points targets or any other aims."