Sunderland sign Grant Leadbitter from Middlesbrough

Celtic winger Lewis Morgan is also due for a medical on Wearside

Middlesbrough's Grant Leadbitter
Image: Grant Leadbitter joined Middlesbrough in 2012 from Ipswich

Sunderland have signed midfielder Grant Leadbitter from Middlesbrough on a two-and-a-half-year deal.

He returns to the club more than nine years after leaving for Ipswich in September 2009.

The 33-year-old has spent the last six-and-a-half seasons with Middlesbrough but now returns to the club he began his career with.

He told the club's website: "I'm absolutely delighted to be back, I'm buzzing.

"When you're a born-and-bred Sunderland fan and there's an opportunity to come back to the football club, well, I was never going to say no I can tell you that.

Grant Leadbitter started his career with Sunderland before leaving in 2009
Image: Leadbitter started his career with Sunderland before leaving in 2009

"I'm here to do a job and help the club. The football club means a lot to me for sentimental reasons, but I've spoken to Jack Ross a lot in the last few days, and I'm excited by his plans.

"I share his ambitions and I really can't wait to get going."

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Leadbitter has not made a Championship appearance since August 7 in Middlesbrough's second match of the season, a 3-0 win at home to Sheffield United.

Sunderland are fifth in League One and have games in hand on all of the teams above them in the table.

Sunderland are in the market to do more business this month. Celtic winger Lewis Morgan is due for a medical on Wearside after opting for Sunderland over Aberdeen.

The club are also looking into possible deals for free-scoring League One strikers Tom Eaves (Gillingham) and John Marquis (Doncaster) after four bids were knocked back for Will Grigg.

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