Sunderland’s summer spending spree is finally up and running, with defender Sebastian Coates completing his permanent move from Liverpool.
The fee for the Uruguayan international is understood to be in the region of £2million, which represents a shrewd piece of business by the Black Cats given his form in helping keep the club up.
The 24-year-old, who spent last season on loan at the Stadium of Light, has signed a four-year deal at Sunderland and becomes the club’s first summer signing.
And Coates admits he cannot wait to work again under Sunderland head coach Dick Advocaat, who was one of the main influences behind his return. “The manager gave me confidence last year when he came in (to the club),” said Coates.
“For me, it was very important to play and be involved in the team. The confidence he gives to the players and the team and the supporters is very important.
“It was very important and he trusts in the team,” added Coates, who praised the impact the Sunderland fans had on him too.
His return to Sunderland was widely expected after impressing Advocaat in the final weeks of the Premier League campaign.
The South American was originally signed on loan by then manager Gus Poyet last September but initially struggled to make his mark.
But revitalised under Advocaat, Coates went on to play a key role during the Dutchman’s nine-game spell in charge – playing every minute of the club’s final six games – helping Sunderland achieve a haul of nine points and three clean sheets.
It was enough to persuade Advocaat that he had a future at the club and his permanent transfer has now been finalised.
Coates has spent the summer on international duty with Uruguay at the Copa America and will return to Wearside next week – and he can’t wait to get back training with his Sunderland team-mates.
“I’m really happy to be here,” Coates told the club’s website. “I will try to improve on last season and hopefully the team will too.
“Hopefully we’ll continue how we played how we finished. For me, I played really well at the end of last season and the team did as well, so I hope we can be good this year. I’m fit, so I’m hoping to get more games.
“I will give my best in every training session to stay at my best for the games.”
Delighted sporting director Lee Congerton welcomed the defender back to the North East. Congerton said: “Sebastian was an important part of the team under Dick last season and we are delighted that he has joined us on a permanent basis.
“He has Barclays Premier League experience, which is important, and, after spending last season on loan with us, he will be able to settle into the team very quickly.”
Officially he has joined for an undisclosed fee, but Sunderland are understood to have paid £2m for Coates, who cost Liverpool £7.5m when he moved to England in 2011.
He only had one year left on his Anfield contract.
Coates is the first of what Advocaat will hope is an influx of signings as the 67-year-old attempts to strengthen his squad in terms of quality rather than numbers.