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The Irishman has swapped the West Midlands for west London today...

Fulham manager Roy Hodgson has made his first swoop of the summer in the transfer market today, securing the services of full-back Stephen Kelly from newly-promoted Premier League outfit Birmingham City, who will sign for the cottagers when the transfer window officially opens on July 1.

The Republic of Ireland international has signed a deal that will keep him at the club until summer 2012, after making 79 appearances for the Blues, including being an ever-present during the club's 2007/08 season in the Premier League.

Opportunities then became limited at St Andrews, so the player moved to Stoke City on loan in February this year.

The signing is the first signing of many anticipated this season at Craven Cottage, as the club, short on numbers and depth of quality ahead of what could be a challenging Europa League campaign, look to mount an intensive recruitment drive.

Kelly was clearly pleased to be at the club, telling Fulham's official website, "I’m happy that my transfer to Fulham has been finalised today and look forward to meeting with the rest of the team for pre-season preparations in July.

"I have spoken to the manager about plans for next season and I’m delighted to have joined a progressive Club which has recently achieved its highest ever top-flight finish. I am also looking forward to being part of a strong squad for next season’s Premier League and Europa League competitions."

Hodgson too was delighted to have secured the services of the player, explaining, "I am delighted that Stephen has become our first signing of the summer transfer window. He is a talented young full back with experience of playing in the Premier League as well as competing at international level.

"He will be a useful addition as we look to improve our squad ahead of the start of next season and I am hopeful that we will be able to announce further additions in the coming weeks."


Zack Wilson, Goal.com

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