SUNDERLAND have completed the signing of midfileder Carl Winchester, with the 27-year-old having joined on a two-and-a-half year deal.

Winchester, who has been signed for an undisclosed fee after leaving Forest Green Rovers in the final six months of his contract, becomes Lee Johnson's first signing as Black Cats head coach.

The central midfielder played under Johnson at Oldham Athletic, before making more than 100 senior appearances for Forest Green.

Winchester said: "It’s a massive club and once I heard about the interest, there was only one place I wanted to come. I’ll give my all for the team and I’ll go out there and wear my heart on my sleeve.

"The head coach believes in me and I believe in myself. I’m coming into my prime, so I’m hoping I can settle in well with the lads and kick on from there."

Johnson is delighted to have added Winchester to his midfield ranks, and is clearly confident his new addition can handle the step back up to League One.

Johnson said: "After assessing our squad and establishing the profile of midfielder we wanted to bring in, we evaluated all the elements, inclusive of the data, and felt that Carl was the right player to add to our squad.

"He is a good player who is in the prime of his career, and his versatility means he can play in a number of positions, ensuring he will also bring depth to our squad.

"When he was a young player at Oldham, every top club wanted him, which shows the potential he has always had.

"He has represented some good clubs, but in terms of division, we believe he has been playing below his natural level."