Fulham signed Northern Ireland defender Chris Baird from Southampton in a deal worth £3m.

Baird, who had been expected to move to Fulham’s Premiership rivals Sunderland, has signed a four-year deal with the London c lub.

Lawrie Sanchez, the Fulham manager who knows Baird from his time in charge of Northern Ireland, told the club’s official website: “I’m delighted that Chris has chosen to join Fulham despite interest shown by other clubs.”

“I am well aware of Chris’ attributes as a player from my time with Northern Ireland and his qualities and versatility will be a major asset for the club next season.

“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.”