Albert Watson leaves Ballymena United for Linfield

Albert Watson
Albert Watson has played for Ballymena since the age of 16

Albert Watson has left Ballymena United to join Premiership champions Linfield on a two-year contract.

The long-serving Sky Blues defender had been offered a new contract by the Showgrounds club but opted to move to the Windsor Park outfit.

Watson had previously been courted by the Blues but opted to stay with Ballymena on that occasion.

Meanwhile defender William Murphy is understood to have agreed a new one-year contract with the club.

The acquisition of Watson will add further competition for places in central defence after Noel Bailie retires at the end of the season.

"I'm absolutely delighted to have signed Albert," said Linfield manager David Jeffrey.

"We knew that Noel Bailie was retiring and we thought then that this was maybe an area that needed strengthening.

"We've been linked with Albert several times before and in his own words Albert now feels emotionally and mentally ready to come to Linfield and face up to the challenges and pressure and expectations of being a Linfield player.

"That's Albert signed. Gary Browne has signed and I'm also really pleased with that signing also," added the Blues boss.