CHERRIES have officially announced the arrival of defender Chris Francis, who has agreed a deal to join the club's development squad.

Reports emerged of the teenager's arrival last month, after it was revealed he had been taking part in some first-team training sessions with Cherries.

And now, after a period on trial, Francis's arrival has been confirmed, with the move subject to confirmation from the Premier League and the FA.

Francis, 19, came through the youth ranks at Swindon Town before moving to Southern League Division One Central outfit North Leigh United.

The Oxfordshire side compete in the eighth tier of English football.

Francis has reportedly signed a 12-month deal at Cherries, with the option of a further year.

And he is already excited about the prospect of working alongside former Cherries defenders Shaun Cooper and Tommy Elphick, who coach the club's development squad.

“Coming back into full-time football has been great," Francis told Cherries' website.

“Training has been really good and I have learnt a lot so far. I’m really looking forward to working with Shaun Cooper and Tommy Elphick, both former defenders.

“They’re great coaches who work with a great amount of detail. That was very clear from day one by the sessions they put on and the way they coached. It was really appealing for my development.

“I think I’ve also settled in well with my new teammates, they’re a great bunch of lads.

“I didn’t know anyone before I came. I recognised a few faces as I had played against them before with Swindon, but I didn’t know anyone personally.

“Overall, I’ve really enjoyed my time at Bournemouth so far and I can’t wait for the season ahead!”

He added: "My football journey started at Swindon Town from the age of six. I progressed through the academy, but was released at 18 after my scholarship ended last summer.

“After a busy summer, I started the season with North Leigh, who were excellent in helping me develop. I played over 30 games it taught me a lot, especially the physical side of the game in competitive football.

“It was a new challenge as the game is played differently to what I was used to. My experience there also showed how vital the ‘uglier’ side of the game was and how to fight for three points to push on in the league.

“I can’t thank the staff enough at North Leigh for the extra sessions and time they put in to helping me push on.”

Francis is the second youngster to sign for Cherries from non-league to be confirmed this week, after Dominic Sadi's arrival from Wingate & Finchley.