SAINTS have announced the signing of Jack Cork from Chelsea.

The 22-year-old returns to St. Mary's three years after spending a few months on loan under Jan Poortvliet, making 25 league and cup appearances.

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Saints were one of a number of teams chasing the midfielder, including Burnley and West Ham.

Before joining Saints on loan in 2008, the youngster played under Nigel Adkins at Scunthorpe.

Cork has signed a four-year deal, after the move which is thought to be in the region of £750,000 - was finalised earlier this evening.

Since his loan spell at Southampton, Cork has played for a number of Championship sides and has made 11 top-flight appearances for Burnley, scoring one goal.

The England U21 international told Saints' website: "It was a massive decision to make. I had another year left at Chelsea, but I've been wanting to get away for a while and have been waiting for the right move to present itself.

"The chance to come to Southampton came along, and having known the manager and having been here before and knowing some of the guys, it just felt like it was the right move for me."

Cork has signed just in time to join his new team mates as they fly out to Switzerland for pre-season training, as exclusively revealed by the Daily Echo last month.