Fulham have seen off competition from Sunderland to sign Southampton's Northern Ireland defender Chris Baird in a £3.025million deal.

The 25-year-old, who had been widely tipped to join the Black Cats, has agreed a four-year deal at Craven Cottage.

Fulham manager Lawrie Sanchez told the club's official website: "I'm delighted that Chris has chosen to join Fulham despite interest shown by other clubs."

Bard has earned 25 caps for Northern Ireland since 2003, most of them under former national team boss Sanchez.

Sanchez added: "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."