Tal Ben Haim will seek to revive his Premier League career after joining Sunderland on loan from Manchester City until the end of the season.
We can reveal that City boss Mark Hughes had told Ben Haim that he would never play for the club again after hearing that the Israeli met executive chairman Garry Cooke and criticised his methods.
Ben Haim, who joined City from Chelsea in a £5 million deal last summer, had previously heard similar sentiments from the then boss Avram Grant for condemning him in an interview.
Despite his reputation as a rebel, Ben Haim, 26, could still afford to reject a six-month loan deal with Blackburn. He joined Sunderland because they were able to match his £50,000-a-week wages and has been reunited with manager Ricky Sbragia, who was his assistant at Bolton.
Ben Haim said: “It’s great to be here and working with Ricky again. Sunderland deserve to be much higher up the league and I want to help them achieve that.”
Sbragia said: “I believe Tal will be an important player for us. He’s got a lot of experience, international-wise as well. He can play anywhere across the back four and also in midfield. We’re really pleased to get him.”