Ballymena United boss David Jeffrey has beaten off stiff competition to bolster his attacking options with the high-profile capture of David Parkhouse from Derry City.
Parkhouse, who has joined the Sky Blues for an undisclosed fee, has agreed a three-year deal with the Warden Street club, pending international clearance.
The 21-year-old, who began his career with Sheffield United and also played for Hartlepool and Stevenage during his time in England, was on the radar of several other Irish League clubs.
Cliftonville were strongly linked with a move for the Strabane native last month, while Glentoran and Larne were also reportedly monitoring developments.
However Parkhouse, who held productive talks with Jeffrey in recent days, has opted to join Ballymena, where he will wear the No19 shirt.
The talented forward’s arrival is a major boost for the Sky Blues who sold top goalscorer Shay McCartan to Glentoran for a reported £100,000-plus fee last week.
Parkhouse was voted into the League of Ireland team of the year in 2019 after scoring 19 goals for Derry City while on loan at the Brandywell from Sheffield United.
And Jeffrey believes the former Northern Ireland U21 frontman has the talent and personality to make a positive impact for the Sky Blues.
“David still had time left on his contract at Derry City and he had plenty of other admirers, but he saw Ballymena United as an opportunity to progress his career,” said Jeffrey.
“He views Ballymena as a club where he can play football, continue to learn and be well looked after in terms of his own development.
“He is a young man who is very hungry to do well, both for himself and Ballymena. He saw how other young players have been given a platform to show their worth here.
“Whilst we’re still awaiting international clearance – which should be a formality in the days ahead – this development wasn’t something we were going to be able to hold until later in the week.
David Parkhouse with Ballymena United boss David Jeffrey and chairman John Taggart
“I am absolutely delighted to announce therefore that we have signed David on a three year contract.
“He will begin training immediately with his new teammates and we look forward to seeing him integrate into the squad.”
Ballymena, who signed midfielder Brendan Barr on loan from Derry City last week, are still in the market for more potential arrivals before the new season kicks-off on August 28.
At the weekend, Jeffrey said he hoped to sign “one striker, possible two” before the summer transfer window slams shut.