EPL newcomers Bournemouth sign St Etienne forward Gradel

Bournemouth have signed St Etienne forward Max Gradel, subject to international clearance, on a four-year contract and for an undisclosed fee.

Former Leicester and Leeds player Gradel had a spell on loan with the Cherries in the 2007/08 season -- where current manager Eddie Howe was part of Kevin Bond's coaching staff - and he now returns to the south coast on a permanent deal. It is believed Bournemouth have paid £7million for his signature.

The 27-year-old began his career at Leicester before making the move to Elland Road in 2010 after impressing during a temporary spell in Yorkshire.

The Ivory Coast international subsequently made the move to St Etienne for £3m a year later and his 17 goals in 37 appearances helped them finish fifth in Ligue 1 to earn them a Europa League place.

Gradel will not be at the Stade Geoffroy-Guichard for the European campaign, though, and will instead try to help Bournemouth secure their Premier League status for an extended period.

Leeds reportedly inserted a 10% sell-on clause in Gradel's contract when he left Elland Road, with this applying to any fee over £2million, meaning the Whites will be entitled to approximately £500,000 from the winger's return to England.

Gradel believes Bournemouth are unrecognizable now from the club he played for in 2007-08.

"It feels a little bit strange because everything has changed," Gradel, 27, told Bournemouth's official club website.

"When I first arrived today I didn't recognize the club, but I am very happy to see it is all moving in a good direction.

"It's a good feeling. I am so happy. I had a great time here before so I'm very excited to be back.

"Not many people will understand why I came to Bournemouth. I had offers for more money and bigger clubs but in football you have to go where you will be happy."

Ivory Coast international Gradel, who worked with Howe while he was a coach at Leicester, also revealed that the manager's presence had a significant influence on his decision to return to Bournemouth, even though he could have been playing in the Champions League.

"There were other options, like to play Champions League football in Russia, but I decided to come here because I like Eddie a lot," he said. "He's always been there for me so it's a big honor to now come and play for him."