Larne have won the race to sign Lee Bonis from Portadown after the two clubs agreed a fee for the coveted 22-year-old striker.
Sunday Life Sport understands the deal is around £100k for the young Portadown star, who was also wanted by Glentoran and Linfield.
The Blues dropped out when quoted the eye-watering asking price, but the Glens were still keen, hoping to satisfy Portadown’s Board with a cash-plus-player offer.
However, Bonis is understood to have favoured Larne — who were yesterday paired with holders Linfield in the second round of the Samuel Gelston’s Whiskey Irish Cup — over the Glens, feeling he would have more opportunities at Inver Park than at The Oval.
The signing is a feather in Tiernan Lynch’s cap after he was gazumped by Glentoran in his attempts to sign Ruaidhri Donnelly and Shay McCartan in previous windows.
“The big thing with Lee is we see real longevity in his potential,” said Lynch.
“He’s a young lad who, at 22 years of age, has already got good experience under his belt and he will be coming into a full-time environment which we feel can only benefit him further.
“He will be working on his football everyday and there is all the stuff off the pitch, like his diet, nutrition and conditioning which can help progress.
“Lee brings us something totally different to what we already have at the club. We are extremely blessed to have the likes of Ronan Hale and Davy McDaid already here.
“So this isn’t about replacing the quality we already have, it’s about giving us a different dimension and with Lee’s physical presence and all around game that is what we are getting.
“It’s all about Lee coming in, settling into the group and adding to what we have at Inver Park and I’m delighted to have him on board.”
Linfield are hoping to bring in at least one striker from outside the Irish League in the current window, having signed Ethan Devine from Knockbreda this week.
Meanwhile, Glentoran striker Andrew Mitchell is wanted by seven clubs in the Irish League, but looks destined to sign for Coleraine after agreeing a pre-contract deal, sources have told the Sunday Life.
Crusaders, Ballymena, Coleraine, Warrenpoint Town, Dungannon Swifts, Carrick Rangers and Glenavon made enquiries for the 27-year-old but Oran Kearney looks set to land him.
Dungannon Swifts have signed goalkeeper Declan Dunne from Cliftonville but manager Dean Shiels insists captain Oisin Smyth is going nowhere, despite interest from Linfield, Glentoran and Larne.
“He’s the captain of our club and I fully expect him to be here at the end of the month,” rapped the former Northern Ireland attacker.
“As far as I am aware, there are no bids in for him, no offers on the table and that’s the way I like it. Oisin’s instrumental, pivotal to what I’m trying to build here.”