CHERRIES' chief executive Neill Blake expressed his delight at clinching a deal for Joe Rothwell, admitting he had "been on our radar for a while".

The Dorset club are understood to have tried to sign midfielder Rothwell during the January transfer window.

However, Blackburn Rovers opted to keep hold of the 27-year-old in the hope he could fire them to promotion to the Premier League.

Rovers eventually finished eighth and Rothwell now departs on a free transfer.

Discussing the Manchester-born talent's arrival, Blake said: "Joe has been on our radar for a while now and we’re delighted to bring him to the club.

“Unsurprisingly, we had huge competition to sign Joe, so we’re really pleased that he has chosen AFC Bournemouth as the next step in his career.

“Joe has proven himself as an outstanding midfielder in the Championship over the past few seasons and we believe he can continue his development under head coach Scott Parker and his coaching team.

“He has superb attributes to complement our other midfield players and we’re happy to bring another exciting signing ahead of our upcoming Premier League campaign.”