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Fulham have finally completed the capture of Southampton defender Chris Baird for £3.025m.

The Londoners beat off serious competition from Sunderland to sign the Northern Ireland international, who submitted a transfer request at St. Mary’s earlier this summer when Fulham’s first approach proved unsuccessful. The 22 year-old made 79 appearances – scoring three times – in five years with the Saints, including being named man of the match in the 2003 FA Cup final against Arsenal.

Fulham manager Lawrie Sanchez told the club’s official website: “I’m delighted that Chris has chosen to join Fulham despite interest shown by other clubs. Winning the Southampton Player of the Season award last year is testament to his continued progress and development, which I have seen first hand at international level. Chris becomes my second defensive signing following the arrival of Aaron Hughes and both players provide some much needed strength to our defence ahead of the 2007/08 campaign.”