Dundee United sign Blackburn defender Gavin Gunning

Gavin Gunning
Gunning has previously spent time on loan at Motherwell

Dundee United have completed the capture, subject to international clearance, of Gavin Gunning after he negotiated his release from Blackburn.

The 20-year-old defender has signed a three-year contract after rejecting the overtures of several clubs, including Aberdeen, Motherwell and Scunthorpe.

Thrilled United manager Peter Houston said: "He is exactly the type of player we try to bring to Dundee United.

"He is young, athletic and hungry. He will do a good job for this club."

His switch coincided with Blackburn's announcement that they had signed Bruno Ribeiro, the 28-year-old Brazilian full-back who was a free agent after leaving Gremio Prudente.

Gunning came through the youth ranks at Ewood Park but has had loan spells with Tranmere Rovers, Rotherham United and Bury before moving to the Scottish Premier League in January.

The Republic of Ireland Under-21 international established himself as a regular starter with Motherwell, helping them to the Scottish Cup final.

"He can play either left back or central defence and, having seen his performances last season, I know he can do a job in the SPL," said Houston.

"It was important that we moved to bring a central defender to the club and to get someone of Gavin's calibre is particularly exciting."

He was originally part of talks that eventually led to the £2.8m transfer of Scotland striker David Goodwillie to Ewood Park, with United also expressing an interested in Blackburn's Scotland defender, Grant Hanley.

Gunning instead headed for Scunthorpe on trial and the League One club's manager, Alan Knill, claimed that the defender did not want to return to Scottish football.

However, he has moved to Tannadice, with United insisting that the deal was completely separate to the Goodwillie transfer.

"What is also pleasing is that Gavin was determined to join Dundee United," added Houston.

"He knows he can get a platform to showcase his talent here and he will do a good job for this club."

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