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Wednesday, 14 August, 2002, 08:07 GMT 09:07 UK
Wright agrees Sunderland deal
Stephen Wright
Wright has now agreed to join the Black Cats

Liverpool's England Under-21 defender Stephen Wright has finally agreed to join Sunderland in a 1.5m deal.

Sunderland boss Peter Reid has been locked in talks to sign Wright after agreeing the fee with Liverpool counterpart Gerard Houllier.

And despite suggestions the deal had hit a hitch, BBC Sport Online understands terms have now been agreed and Wright will be formally unveiled as a Sunderland player at a news conference on Thursday.

Reid is also on the trail of Rangers' Tore Andre Flo - and is still hoping to persuade Leicester City's Matt Piper to move to the Stadium of Light.

Liverpool are reluctant to sell Wright, but believes the player will benefit from regular first team football.

"Stephen is at an age where he has to play regular football," Liverpool manager Gerard Houllier told the club's official website.

"Going to Sunderland is an opportunity for him to do so.

"If I was selfish I would have kept him here, but I thought about him and about his career because he is a good lad. I wish him well."

The arrival of Abel Xavier at Anfield, as well as the return to fitness of Markus Babbel, has reduced Wright's chances of first-team football.

Wright made 14 appearances last season but would also have to battle with full-backs Jamie Carragher, John Arne Riise and Gregory Vignal for a starting place.

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See also:

12 Aug 02 | Football
10 Aug 02 | Sunderland
14 Aug 02 | Chelsea
14 Aug 02 | Sunderland
14 Aug 02 | Man Utd
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