Bolton Wanderers have signed Middlesbrough defender David Wheater for an undisclosed fee.
The 23-year-old stayed with Boro when they were relegated in 2008, but with the club languishing just above the relegation zone they have opted to cash in on the player. He made 157 appearances for the Teesside club, scoring 11 goals.
Wheater has signed a deal with Bolton which runs through to the summer of 2014, but the arrival of a centre back will lead to further speculation over the future of fellow central defender Gary Cahill, who has been linked with a move to Arsenal throughout the transfer window.
Bolton boss Owen Coyle said: ”First and foremost we are absolutely delighted to get a player of David’s quality into Bolton. The hunger that he has shown in wanting to come to the football club has been first class.
”There has been a lot of competition for his signature and again this shows a willingness on our behalf to invest in young players. The club have parted with good money to secure the services of a very talented player who has been involved with England squads before.
”We want him to be involved at that level again and to do that he will have to play well for Bolton Wanderers, however he has arrived here with a real desire to achieve that. He has a great character as well. He will integrate into the group straight away and it all adds to the fantastic spirit that we have within the squad.”
Wheater added: ”I met with the manager and we had a good chat about football. I had a look around the facilities and it was a really easy decision to make.
”From what I’ve seen there is a really great atmosphere at the club and a real buzz about the place and I’m looking forward to working hard and showing the manager what I can do.”