Sheffield Wednesday boss Stuart Gray hopes Republic of Ireland international Keiren Westwood will be the first of many new signings this summer.
The Owls captured the experienced goalkeeper, released by Sunderland at the end of his contract last week, on a free transfer last night.
Westwood has agreed a two-year contract and becomes Wednesday’s first major addition, although the Championship club have already recruited four development-squad players.
The Owls beat off competition from several clubs, including Brighton and Hove Albion, to land the former Manchester City trainee. Westwood is expected to train with his new teammates for the first time today.
Gray, who is looking to bring Sam Hutchinson back to Hillsborough, told The Star: “Keiren is a goalkeeper I have always admired and I’m delighted he’s joined us.
“Once I heard he was getting a free transfer from Sunderland, I wanted to sign him and we spoke to his representatives early doors.
“There were a number of clubs interested in him so it just shows the quality I’m looking to bring into the club. Hopefully Keiren is not the last signing and this is the start of something.”
The 29-year-old, who has clocked up nearly 300 senior appearances in his career, joined Sunderland three years ago from Coventry City, making only 24 appearances during his time at the Stadium of Light.
Under former Owls striker Paolo Di Canio, Westwood began the 2013/14 campaign as Sunderland’s first-choice shot-stopper.
However, he sustained a shoulder injury in their 1-0 defeat at Hull City last November and had to have an operation in January. He has not played this year.
“The goalkeeping position is a vital and important area of the team,” added Gray. “Keiren brings experience, knowledge and he’s desperate to get back into the Republic of Ireland set-up.”
Gray is optimistic there could be further additions over the next 48 hours and feels Chris Kirkland is “not far off” agreeing a new deal.