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Last Updated: Thursday, 5 January 2006, 10:45 GMT
Birmingham seal Sutton free deal
CHRIS SUTTON FACTFILE
Chris Sutton has cost a total of 21m in transfer fees over his career
Norwich (1991-94): 128 appearances, 43 goals
Blackburn (1994-99): 161 appearances, 59 goals
Chelsea (1999-2000): 39 appearances, 3 goals
Celtic (2000-05) 199 appearances, 86 goals
Birmingham have completed the signing of Celtic striker Chris Sutton on a free transfer - but only after missing out on Barcelona's Henrik Larsson.

Sutton, 32, has left the Bhoys by mutual consent and has joined Birmingham until the end of the season.

"It's obviously a huge disappointment to lose a player of Chris' quality," said Celtic boss Gordon Strachan.

"The club has granted Chris his wish to move on and I would like to wish him all the best for the future."

Birmingham manager Steve Bruce made an initial approach to Barcelona last week regarding Larsson and was initially encouraged by what he heard.

But with Cameroon striker Samuel Eto'o leaving for the African Nations Cup, Barca have decided to keep Sweden international Larsson, who has pledged his future to the club for the rest of the season.

Sutton said he had no choice but to leave: "It has been very disappointing for me to leave Celtic.

"But under the circumstances I felt that I had been left with no choice.

"I had five great years at Celtic under Martin O'Neill. I would like to thank the players and staff for making me and my family so welcome.

"I'm now looking forward to getting started for Birmingham City."

Sutton joined Celtic for 6m in 2000 after an unsuccessful spell with Chelsea, and became a crucial part of one of the most successful sides in the Parkhead club's history.

He scored 86 goals in 199 appearances for Celtic, and won three SPL titles and four Scottish Cups, as well as playing in the Uefa Cup final in 2003.

After beginning his career at Norwich, Sutton became Britain's most expensive player in 1994 when he moved to Blackburn for 5m to form the famous 'SAS' partnership with Alan Shearer.

The transfer fee proved to be money well-spent as Sutton and Shearer's goals took Blackburn to the Premiership title in 1994.

Sutton left Ewood Park for Chelsea in 1999 in a 10m deal but the move did not work out, the striker leaving for Celtic at the end of the season having scored just three goals.

He controversially won just one England cap, against Cameroon in 1998, after his refusal to play in an England B match caused then-coach Glenn Hoddle to doubt the striker's commitment.

Sutton has also played at centre-back and in midfield.


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