Liverpool sign Chris Brunt
Liverpool have opened their cheque book to sign twenty-nine year-old Northern Irish left midfielder Chris Brunt for £6.75m from West Brom.
Brunt was born and raised in Belfast, Northern Ireland, where he attended Newtownbreda Primary School. His father Colin was a talented rugby union player. He then went on to study at Wellington College, a grammar school in Belfast. As a youth player he appeared for Saint Andrews Boys Club.
He moved to Sheffield Wednesday in March 2004 on an initial short-term deal. A permanent free transfer followed soon after as Brunt signed a two-year contract at Wednesday. In 2004–05, his first full season at the club, Brunt helped Wednesday achieve promotion to the Championship by scoring five goals. In July 2005 he agreed a one-year extension to his existing contract.
He went on to hit seven goals the following season, finishing the campaign as the club's top goalscorer. During the 2006–07 campaign Brunt passed the 100 appearance mark for Wednesday, making him the club's most experienced player at the time. His impressive displays during the 2006–07 season Brunt linked with a move away from Hillsborough. With only one year remaining on his contract, negotiations between Brunt and Wednesday broke down in July 2007, due to what the club described as 'excessive wage demands'.
West Bromwich Albion had a bid accepted for Brunt on 14 August 2007. They completed the signing the next day, in a £3 million four-year deal, which included £500,000 of performance-related add-ons. Brunt made his Albion debut as a second-half substitute in a 2–0 home win over Barnsley on 1 September 2007. He scored his first goal for the club in a 3–2 victory away at Scunthorpe United on 22 September 2007. Brunt's performance in the 3–0 home win against Plymouth Argyle on 1 March 2008 saw him named in the Championship Team of the Week.
Brunt continued his role as West Bromwich Albion captain in the 2012/2013 and helped the team secure an 8th place finish, the highest the club has finished in the Premier League era, while also helping to secure the record amount of points for the club (48). He scored twice in the season, his first a strike from 30 yards away at QPR which Albion won 2–1 and the second a finish from the edge of the box at home to Aston Villa which got Albion back into the game at 1–2, the final score being 2–2.
Brunt is a current international for the Northern Ireland national team. He scored his first goal for his country in February 2009, when his free-kick helped Northern Ireland to a 3–0 victory over San Marino. In April 2012 it was revealed that Brunt was in manager Stuart Pearce's provisional squad for the 2012 Olympic Great Britain Football Team. He was in the end not selected in the final 18 man squad for the Games.