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Wednesday, 13 June, 2001, 14:27 GMT 15:27 UK
Sunderland sign Mercimek
Sunderland boss Peter Reid
Reid has signed Mercimek on a five-year deal
Sunderland have signed young central defender Baki Mercimek from Dutch side Haarlem.

The 18-year-old arrives on Wearside highly recommended as Holland's 'next Jaap Stam.'

Mercimek began as an eight-year-old at Ajax and came through their renowned youth academy before gaining first team experience at Haarlem.

He spent a week on trial at the Stadium of Light near the end of last season and Sunderland boss Peter Reid has now signed him on a five-year deal.

"I was waiting for an offer from Haarlem when Sunderland stepped in," Mercimek said on Sunderland's official website.

I like the physical side of things but I also like to pass the ball and play good, technical football
  Baki Mercimek

"I've been impressed with the club and the people here.

"Ajax is one of the best places to learn your trade and I learned a lot from my time there but I think my style suits the English game.

"I like the physical side of things but I also like to pass the ball and play good, technical football."

Mercimek has Turkish parents and qualifies to play for Holland as well as Turkey.

He added: "I have Turkish blood and I'd love to play for my country one day."

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