Sheffield United have signed Southend United midfielder Ryan Leonard for an undisclosed fee believed to be around £700,000.
The 25-year-old joins the Blades on a three-and-a-half year deal after a lengthy pursuit by boss Chris Wilder.
His contract at Roots Hall was due to run out in the summer.
Wilder told the official club website: “It is no secret that we have chased the signature of Ryan for some time. We wanted him in the summer but that was not possible so we have been patient, continued to monitor his progress and we are delighted that this has been completed early in this window.”
Leonard made over 250 appearances for Southend United, scoring 27 goals and being named the Supporters’ Player of the Season three times in 2013/14, 2015/16 and 2016/17.
His Blades debut could come in Friday night’s sold-out Steel City Derby at Bramall Lane, which will also see Jos Luhukay take to the dugout for the first time as Sheffield Wednesday manager.