Grant Leadbitter returns to Sunderland from Middlesbrough almost a decade after leaving
Midfielder Grant Leadbitter has rejoined Sunderland from Middlesbrough.
The midfielder, 33, has signed a two-and-a-half-year contract with the League One promotion chasers.
He is a lifelong Sunderland fan who began his career with the club and made 111 league appearances before leaving for Ipswich Town in 2009.
"When you're a born and bred Sunderland fan and there's an opportunity to come back... I was never going to say no," he told Sunderland's website.
Boro signed Leadbitter from Ipswich in 2012 and he made 244 appearances for the Teesside club, playing a key role in their promotion to the Premier League in 2016.
Sunderland boss Jack Ross said: "We haven't brought Grant back for sentimental reasons, he could have easily continued his career in the Championship.
"Once I started speaking to him, I had a real feel for how desperate he was to come back to Sunderland, and how much he wants to help take the club back to where he feels it belongs.
"He understands we have a long path ahead of us, but his playing career speaks for itself, and he's ready to play his part."
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