BRIGHTLINGSEA Regent have completed their first summer signing by bringing popular midfielder Amir Berkane back to the Taydal Stadium.

The former Ipswich Town youngster previously made 44 appearances for the R's, mostly during the 2014-15 season, after initially joining on loan from Chelmsford City.

Now, after four years playing and studying in America, followed by a spell at Aveley, he has re-signed and looks set to become a key figure in next season's Isthmian League campaign.

“Firstly, Amir's a great lad," said manager Tom Rothery.

"He’s popular in the changing room and will fit in immediately.

"Secondly, he’s an excellent player who will really add something to the team.

"He’s tenacious and has an excellent work ethic, in addition to real quality on the ball.

"The four years he spent in North Carolina, playing for Elon University, will have helped him develop as a player so it’s exciting to see where he's at now.

"Having spoken to him, I know he's still ambitious and looking to establish himself now he's back in England permanently.

"At 23, I feel we're getting him at a great age.”

Meanwhile, Rothery has confirmed that three key players have been retained for next season.

Ricky Griggs, Jake Gould and Josh Gould will all spend another season at the Taydal Stadium.

“These three players are critical to what we do and huge factors in any success Brightlingsea have had in the past and can have in the future," added Rothery.

"They're all great lads, committed and, most importantly, hugely talented.

"Alongside skipper Matt Cripps, they're stalwarts of our defence and the fact they know each other’s game inside out helps (assistant manager) Pip (Boyland) and I as coaches to organise and get a good starting point for the team to build.

"As they've proven since I came back to the club, they're comfortable at this level and last season, like the team, they really began to show their capabilities at step three."

Other key players including Cripps, midfielder Jake Turner and striker Billy Hunt have already penned new contracts keeping them at Brightlingsea.

Regent begin their pre-season campaign with a trip to Long Melford on Friday, July 12.