PHIL BARDSLEY has turned his back on Sunderland to sign for Premier League rivals Stoke City.
The full-back has turned down the Black Cats' offer of a new contract at the Stadium of Light in order to sign a three-year deal with Stoke at the Britannia Stadium.
The news, which was relayed to Sunderland officials earlier this afternoon, represents a considerable blow to Gustavo Poyet, who had been hoping to retain the 28-year-old.
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Instead, Bardsley will now be formally confirmed as a Stoke player once the transfer window reopens, leaving Sunderland to pursue alternative options at right-back.