Southend United are delighted to announce the signing of left-back Nathan Ralph from Dundee.
The 26-year-old made 32 appearances in the Scottish Premiership for the Dee last season and was named their Player of the Season.
Following relegation to the Scottish Championship, Ralph triggered a clause in his contract to sign for Southend and becomes Kevin Bond’s third summer arrival after Brandon Goodship and Mark Milligan.
Blues have tied Ralph down to a two-year contract which includes the option of another year.
Described as a bright spark for the Dens Park side last season, Ralph started out at Peterborough United before joining Yeovil Town where he made his debut aged 19 against Colchester United, eventually going on to make 42 appearances for the Glovers.
He joined Newport County from Yeovil but was loaned out to Aldershot Town and then signed for Woking in 2016 where made 68 appearances.
After two years at Woking the Great Dunmow-born full back, who likes to get forward, moved north of the border but now joins Blues ahead of the 2019/20 League One campaign.
“I’m very pleased,” he said. “I’ve not played football close to home ever really, I’ve always been quite far away so it feels good, being an Essex boy, to be coming back.
“I grew up in Ilford and I’ve always been around Essex really but then from 16 I was moving to different clubs because of football so I’ve been all around but it’s refreshing to come back and be a part of football back in Essex.
“At Dundee it was a difficult year but on a personal level I felt like I had a good season.
“It was a good learning year for me. I learnt a lot and there’s a lot of passion in Scottish football so things like that helped drive me and I played to the best I could.
“League One is a tough and demanding league. It will test me and I’m looking forward to it.
“The aim, now, is to kick on. I’ve had to go into non-league to play games and work my way up so I feel like I can keep going now.”
Asked what fans can expect of him, Ralph said: “I’m an attacking left-back but at the same time I’m a defender first and foremost. I make sure I defend well first and then anything else is a bonus.
“When I get the opportunity to, I like to get forward, make things happen and try and create.”
Kevin Bond spoke highly of his new left back and his attitude after completing his third signing.
“Nathan struck me as someone who is very serious about his football, he’s certainly a determined young man and he wants to push on and improve his game.
“I had a lot of recommendations from people I know in the game regarding his ability and attitude and I hope he can bring some good attacking flair to our team from the flank.
“He’s got the ability to push forward but from a defensive point of view, he’s a tenacious player and he’s good in the air. In today’s game as a full back you’ve got to get forward but also do your job defensively.
“I also like the fact he wants to improve his game; he’s willing to learn and I’m happy to give him the chance to do so here at Southend United.
“He dropped down into non-league a few years back and last year he won Player of the Season for Dundee in the Scottish Premiership. Players like Nathan are determined; they want it and they’re the type of players I want at this football club.”
The deal is subject to international clearance.