EDDIE Howe is “delighted we have been able to strike so early in the summer” as Cherries completed a deal for sought-after defender Lloyd Kelly from Bristol City.

The 20-year-old has attracted interest from a host of Premier League clubs with Liverpool, Arsenal and Southampton all linked in recent months.

But the left-back, who can also play in the centre, has put pen-to-paper on a “long-term” contract with Cherries after a fee of around £13million was agreed between the two clubs.

Kelly completed a medical at Vitality Stadium on Saturday and Howe was thrilled to get a first signing complete less than a week after the 2018-19 campaign came to a close.

Howe told the club’s website: “Lloyd is an exciting talent and a player of real potential, while at the same time already possessing good experience for someone so young.

“He is athletic, versatile, physically excellent and has a very bright future ahead of him.

“I’m delighted that we have been able to strike so early in the summer and look forward to working with Lloyd during the coming seasons.”

Kelly has made 34 appearances for Bristol City, 32 of which came in the Championship as the Robins finished in eighth, four points off the play-offs.

The defender came through the youth system at Ashton Gate before making his first-team debut in August 2017.

He has international experience having featured for both the England under-20s and under-21s in the past two years. Kelly is hoping to participate in this summer’s UEFA European under-21 Championship in Italy and San Marino alongside new Cherries team-mate Dominic Solanke.

Speaking to afcbtv, Kelly said: “I’m overwhelmed really. It’s a fantastic club.

“It’s come around quite fast but I’m just happy to be here and can’t wait to start playing.

“It’s been a bit of a whirlwind to be honest. Finding out they (Cherries) were interested in me and then meeting with the gaffer. Then from there it’s gone so fast from me being in Bristol and then me coming down and signing the deal.”

He added: “The manager gave me the confidence and the trust that I feel I can come in and make my way into the team.

“Premier League football is always what I’ve been looking to achieve.

“I just want to play as many games as possible and I feel like this is the right club to do so.

“Here it doesn’t matter about your age. If you’re good enough, you’ll play and you’ve just got to take your opportunity when it comes.”

Kelly’s departure has been labelled a “club-record fee” received by Bristol City as their academy star moves to the Premier League.

Robins chief executive Mark Ashton said Cherries’ bid was “an offer we felt we couldn’t refuse” and Bristol boss Lee Johnson was sad to see the youngster depart.

He said: “Lloyd has been a pleasure to work with.

“I’ve very much enjoyed watching his journey from the academy to the first team, to playing for the England under-21s, training with England’s first team and now his Premier League move.

“We wish him all the very best at Bournemouth and he will always be welcome back at Ashton Gate.”