Dundee United sign Sligo Rovers captain Richie Ryan

Dundee United

Dundee United have signed midfielder Richie Ryan from Sligo Rovers on a two-and-a-half year contract.

The 26-year-old, who will be available to the Tannadice side from January, said: "I'm over the moon.

"It's nice to know my future is here at Tannadice for at least the next couple of years and I'm looking forward to the challenge ahead.

"With the number of Irish lads already at the club, it'll be a little bit easier for me to settle in."

Ryan turned professional with Sunderland and had a loan spell with Scunthorpe in 2005 before joining the Iron later that year.

Spells at Boston United and Belgian outfit Royal Antwerp followed.

His stint at Sligo began in 2008 and he went on to captain the club and win the 2010 PFAI player of the year award.

Manager Peter Houston said: "Richie is a different type of midfielder to those already at the club.

"He is more of a sitting, defensive player who is strong in the tackle and can pass the ball. He is left-footed as well which adds to the balance of our midfield.

"Having played well in excess of 40 games this season for Sligo, he will now head home for a well-earned break before returning to training with us in mid-December with a view to making an impact on our squad in January."

And Ryan added: "The Irish lads who are here have done well and I know I can bring something to the squad here and I know I can bring something to the squad here.

"I am looking forward to joining up with my teammates in December."

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