Forest Green Rovers have signed highly rated Whitby Town striker Junior Mondal on an 18-month permanent deal.
The 21-year-old former Middlesbrough youngster had been linked with a number of Football League clubs, having scored eight goals in 23 games this season for the Evo-Stik Northern Premier League side.
He’ll be eligible to play from January 2, but will join up with his new teammates immediately to help with conditioning and to get familiar with the squad.
Mondal said: “I’m buzzing – it’s a big opportunity for me and I can’t wait to get started. The manager has got a good vision, the chairman has got a good vision and there’s a bunch of young lads like myself, aspiring to do well in the game and that’s what made me want to come to this club.
“The way that the team plays is like how I was brought up when I was at Middlesbrough U23s, where you’re passing and moving, keeping the ball on the deck – that suits my style of play.
“Playing for Whitby Town has got me accustomed to playing men’s football so the step up to this league now will hopefully be a little bit easier than coming straight in from academy football.”
Rovers boss Mark Cooper added: “He’s lightening quick and although he’s probably not one that is ready to go and start a game in the first team, he’ll add to an excellent, young group of players.
“It’s so important for these young players to get out and play men’s football to realise what three points means on a Saturday. Junior’s done that, he went to a really tough northern league and he’ll have been kicked from pillar to post and smashed all round the pitch. That will have really toughened him up.
“Whitby understood that he would join them, but always with the mind for him to move up into the Football League and the club have been brilliant in the way that they’ve dealt with both Forest Green, the player and his advisers.”
An explosive striker, Mondal joined Whitby on a dual-registration with Spennymoor Town in November 2017, before making his move to the Seasiders permanent in summer 2018, following a trial with Blackpool.
Mondal left Middlesbrough in summer 2017 despite being one of the highest-rated talents at the club after playing a part in the club’s treble-winning Under-21 side of 2014/15, following a difficult string of injuries.