CHERRIES boss Eddie Howe welcomed the permanent signing of Artur Boruc and insisted the goalkeeper had “deserved” his return to the Premier League.

The Polish international starred during an extended loan spell from Southampton as Cherries won promotion to the top flight for the first time in their history.

Boruc, who kept 16 clean sheets in 37 games in the Championship, has finalised terms on an initial one-year deal with provision for a 12-month appearance-related extension.

He joins on a free transfer following three years at Southampton where he made 49 appearances in the Premier League, helping them finish eighth in 2013-14.

Boruc, who won a hat-trick of Scottish Premiership titles with Celtic, becomes Howe’s first addition of the close season and his first permanent signing since August.

In an exclusive interview with the Daily Echo, Howe said: “Artur had a big impact on our season and was very consistent in his performances. I don’t think it was any coincidence that his arrival coincided with an improvement in our results.

“He was a massive presence for us and I am delighted to have signed him permanently. I will be looking for him to continue his good form as we move into the Premier League.

“He had other offers but I think he enjoyed his time with us. He fitted in very well, saw what a spirited group we were and enjoyed being part of it.

“All those things considered, he was also very keen to get back into the Premier League which is where he performed very well for Southampton not so long ago. He had an outstanding season for them so we are looking for him to match that form and be equally as good for us.”

Cherries had been 15th in the Championship following an indifferent start to the season before Boruc arrived from Southampton in September. Four of his 16 clean sheets came in the final five games as promotion was assured.

Howe added: “We have built up a really good relationship with Artur. He is a really good guy with a real passion for goalkeeping. He has had an interesting career and is a fascinating guy to talk to on many levels.

“We are now going to give him a platform to perform at the highest level which is where his talents deserve to be showcased.

“We know how important the role of goalkeeper is going to be for us next season and can’t underestimate that. There were games when he was fairly quiet last season but, by nature of the division, that won’t be the case in the Premier League. We know the importance of the role and so does Artur.”