The arrival of Johnson is a huge coup for
The Wearside club faced competition from Liverpool and Tottenham for Johnson and were thought to be outsiders as they were unable to offer the England international European football.
However, Johnson’s desire to move back to his native North-East has been a
significant factor in negotiations and Sunderland had been “battling hard”
according to O’Neill, to woo the 25 year-old and come to a financial
Sunderland cannot afford to cover Johnson’s £80,000-a-week wages, but the player was willing to take a pay cut of about £30,000 a week as long as he was compensated with a lump sum from City to do so.
Johnson is determined to play regularly again and believes he will rediscover his best form if he is given star status at Sunderland after a frustrating finish to his 2½ years in Manchester.
The winger was expected to become one of the most exciting creative players in English football when Roberto Mancini took him to City in January 2010, but an injury the following season disrupted his progress and Johnson has since fallen out with the Italian, who signed both David Silva and Samir Nasri.
Johnson was set to sign for Sunderland before City hijacked his move from Middlesbrough.
“Adding quality players to the squad has been our main aim this summer and Adam certainly fits that bill," O'Nell told the club website.
“He has terrific ability, great delivery and I'm sure he is a player who will excite our fans. I couldn't be more delighted to have him at the football club.”
The arrival of Johnson dovetails nicely with the capture of Fletcher, who has
been pursued by O’Neill since May. Sunderland eventually managed to get the
Scotland international for £12 million and while the size of the fee is
large for a striker who has never scored 15 goals in a
“I’m not sure there are many strikers out there with a proven track record of scoring 20 goals in the Premier League,” he said. “I can understand where people are coming from when they question the size of the fee, but I have no problem with it.
“For a centre-forward who can score a few goals and bring people into play, and who has been involved in the Premier League, I’m happy with what’s happened.
“There were cheaper options along the way, but I would rather go with him. If he stays injury free, then I’m sure he will do very well. I think he can bring people into play and the more help we can get to him in terms of creativity, the better chance we have.”
Sunderland are still chasing Tottenham pair Danny Rose and Jermaine Jenas, with O’Neill hoping to sign at least another two players after Johnson.