PHIL BARDSLEY has ended his six-and-a-half year stay at Sunderland after opting to join Stoke City.
Sunderland held a fresh round of discussions over keeping out-of-contract Bardsley at the Stadium of Light last week after earlier talks about a new deal had collapsed.
But Bardsley has decided on a fresh start in the Potteries, with the full-back unveiled tonight at the Britannia Stadium after penning a three-year deal with Mark Hughes’ side.
Gus Poyet is understood to have been relaxed over whether Bardsley stayed or departed, and will now look for a new right-back this summer.
Bardsley, who enjoyed a remarkable transformation of his fortunes after being frozen out under Paolo Di Canio, leaves Sunderland having become the club’s record appearance maker in the Premier League.
After arriving from Manchester United in January 2008 in a £2million deal, the 28-year-old played 200 games in all competitions for the Black Cats.