Chris Baird signs for West Brom

West Brom have announced the signing of defender Chris Baird on a one-year contract.

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The versatile 32-year-old was available on a free transfer after the expiry of a short-term deal at newly promoted Burnley.

The Northern Ireland international is the Baggies' third signing of the summer after Joleon Lescott and Craig Gardner.

Manager Alan Irvine told the club's official website: "Chris is a player with vast Premier League and international experience who reads the game well and has good positional sense.

"He can play in several positions and his versatility effectively makes your squad bigger.

"It's important we have the right characters in the dressing room and Chris is certainly that.

"We have done our homework on him. I have spoken to a lot of different people who have either managed or played with Chris and everyone spoke very, very highly of him both as a player and a person."

Meanwhile, West Brom chairman Jeremy Peace has increased his majority stake in the club to 76.4 percent with the purchase of a further 905 shares.

Peace, through his company West Bromwich Albion Holdings Ltd, last month made an offer of 3,000 pounds per share to shareholders in the hope of taking his holding over the legally-significant 75 percent-mark.

The club has now announced that Peace, who had held 67 percent, has surpassed that figure and he could yet increase his stake further. The initial deadline of July 3 for shareholders to respond to the tender offer has been extended by two weeks.

By owning more than three-quarters of the company, Peace now has greater powers at The Hawthorns. Notably, he now has the authority to call an extraordinary general meeting to make changes whereas he previously had to wait for an annual general meeting.

A statement from the club read: "On June 10, 2014, WBAH issued a tender document as it offered to acquire up to a further 770 ordinary shares in West Bromwich Albion Group Ltd ('WBAG') at 3,000 pounds per ordinary share.

"At the first closing date of July 3, 2014, 130 shareholders, representing 905 shares, had submitted tender forms accepting the offer.

"WBAH has exercised its discretion to buy all 905 shares, taking its total stake in WBAG to 76.4 percent.

"WBAH has now extended its tender offer until July 17, at 3p.m., and will exercise its option to acquire further shares at its discretion."