Sunderland bring in ex-Preston captain Browne

Alan Browne in action for Preston
Alan Browne played 414 times for Preston after moving from Cork City [Rex Features]

Sunderland have signed former Preston North End captain Alan Browne on a free transfer.

Browne, capped 35 times by the Republic of Ireland, has agreed a three-year contract with Sunderland following the end of his deal with Preston.

The midfielder, 29, had been offered fresh three-year terms by North End but he rejected that and now heads to the Stadium of Light.

He joined Preston from Cork City as a teenager in 2014, helping them win promotion from League One a year later and he has remained in the Championship ever since.

Last season, he played 41 league games and scored four goals as he was named Preston's Player of the Year.

But, after four seasons as skipper at Deepdale, he will now be part of the Black Cats' squad under new French head coach Regis Le Bris.

"It's a big change for me after being at Preston for such a long time, but it's brilliant to be here," Browne told the club's website.

"Sunderland is one of the biggest clubs in England and I can't wait to get started."