KIEV, UKRAINE – Sunderland boss Martin O'Neill has snapped up free agent Carlos Cuellar on a two-year deal.
The 30-year-old Spaniard's contract with Aston Villa expired at the weekend to allow the Black Cats to push home their interest.
Cuellar joined the midlands club from Rangers during the summer of 2008 as then Villa boss O'Neill got his man for the first time.
Cuellar's capture comes just a day after the Wearside club allowed left-back George McCartney to complete a move to newly-promoted West Ham.
Madrid-born Cuellar made 94 appearances for Villa, whom he joined following an impressive season north of the border which saw him claim the SPL and Scottish Football Writers' Player of the Year awards.
He has been recruited in time to play a full part in pre-season, which includes a trip to Korea for the Peace Cup.
His arrival signals the beginning of a restructuring exercise which will see O'Neill attempt to move on players surplus to requirements in the squad he inherited from predecessor Steve Bruce in December.
Owner and chairman Ellis Short has indicated that the club will opt for quality rather than quantity in terms of signings this summer, but value for money will also be paramount.