BARROW AFC have added Caribbean class to their forward line by landing highly-rated youngster Harry Panayiotou.

A St Kitts and Nevis international striker, he came through the youth ranks at Premier League champions Leicester City and was at the King Power Stadium until his release this summer.

The 21-year-old had trials with a number of clubs over the summer and since the season started – featuring at Carlisle United, Yeovil Town and Coventry City.

Panayiotou was also looking to earn a deal with German Bundesliga side Borussia Dortmund, as part of their under-23s set-up, but chose to move to Holker Street instead, to be closer to his Leicester home.

The deal was finalised last night, after paperwork was signed earlier in the week, ahead of tomorrow’s match against York City (3pm kick-off).

The son of a Cypriot father and Kittian mother, he has signed a deal until the end of next season, with AFC boss Paul Cox thrilled to have landed a player he first targetted during his time in charge of Mansfield.

“He’s an excellent footballer,” said Cox of a player who spent the latter half of last season on loan at Scottish Championship side Raith Rovers, where he found the net against Rangers on his league debut.

“I was surprised he was knocking around when (chief scout) Paul Ogden mentioned it. I get along very well with his dad – I gave him a ring out of the blue and he was training with Borussia Dortmund, who offered him a contract. But the kid wants to play over here.

“He had offers from Yeovil and Coventry and even from Salt Lake City in America, but he wanted to play here for us.

“He’s a good player, the right age and right mentality to come here. He’s coming to Barrow because he wants to play and he wants to better himself.

“He was the top-scorer for Leicester in the under-21s and he scored more goals than (Marcus) Rashford (the Manchester United striker).”

Panayiotou made a scoring debut for Leicester in the Championship against Leeds United in 2011/12, but his time with the Foxes was mostly in their Academy teams.

He was a regular at under-18s and under-21s levels and was the under-21s player of the year in 2015, when he scored 11 goals in his last 13 matches for the team.

Internationally, he has seven goals in 12 games for St Kitts and Nevis, for whom he is likely to feature in Caribbean Cup action next month against both French Guyana and Haiti.

Before then, Cox will look to get the player up to full fitness, after he missed the start of this campaign, but when he is firing on all cylinders, Panayiotou will provide stiff competition for Byron Harrison, Richie Bennett and Ross Hannah up front.

“I think it was important that brought somebody in who was different to all three,” Cox added of his new recruit. “This boy is off the shoulder and he’s a bit of a natural goal-scorer. That’s not saying that other three aren’t because it would be stupid to say that with the goals ratio at the minute for Byron and Richie, and with Ross Hannah’s history.

“He’s off the shoulder, living off the last man. He’s a bit like Matt Green was for me as a striker at Mansfield. He’s someone who gets in behind defences and he can finish. He’s quick, he makes good decisions and he knows where the net is.

“He gives us those four strikers that we wanted at the start of the season. We’ve had to wait a little bit for the right one.

“He’s 21 years of age, with a hunger and desire to get back to the level of football he was at. I think he feels as though I’m going to help him get there and I’m going to work very hard to do that. It’s a very positive signing.

“It’s positive that we are attracting some of the players that we are. The boy has said he felt a good bond with me and he wants to come and play for us.”