RELEASED Sunderland defender John Egan has agreed a two-year deal at League Two Gillingham.
A host of clubs have been chasing Egan since Sunderland decided not to renew his contract at the Stadium of Light at the end of last season.
Southend, where Egan spent the final three months of last season on loan, were hopeful of signing the Republic of Ireland Under-21 international permanently after he helped them to the League Two play-offs.
There was also speculation that Blackburn were keen on the 21-year-old.
But Gillingham have won the battle for the signature of the centre-half, who never made a first-team appearance for the Black Cats, despite being highly-rated as a youngster.
Egan’s progress was disrupted by a double leg break during a loan spell with Bradford, which kept him sidelined for around a year.