Dundee Utd confirm Lawrence Shankland signing as striker leaves Ayr Utd

Lawrence Shankland (right) celebrates scoring for Ayr United against Dundee United
Lawrence Shankland (right) scored five goals against Dundee United last season

Lawrence Shankland rejected the chance to join English clubs to sign for Dundee United as the striker believes it is the "best club for my next step".

The 23-year-old has decided to remain in the Scottish Championship, where he was top scorer last season, after rejecting a new deal with Ayr United.

He told United's website he signed for three years "despite having offers from clubs in both Scotland and England".

Head coach Robbie Neilson said: "This is a massive signing for the club."

Shankland scored five times against United last season as the two sides challenged for the title and promotion - including four in a 5-0 hammering of the home side at Tannadice in November.

"A lot of credit must go to the owners, the board and the recruitment staff for the hard work in making this happen," Neilson said.

"We are getting a player who has shown how good he can be at this level and we believe we can make him an even better player with the facilities and coaching that is available at Dundee United."

Shankland found the net 34 times in 41 games last season and, although that was topped by Stephen Dobbie's 43 goals in 45 appearances, his 24 in the league was three more than the Queen of the South veteran's.

Ayr manager Ian McCall revealed last summer that his club had rejected a £150,000 offer from an English club after Shankland's 26 goals in 30 appearances helped the Honest Men win League One.

McCall had long resigned himself to losing Shankland this summer and revealed that the striker was considering offers from "a leading Scottish club and two English sides", after which he was linked with League One outfit Sunderland.

Announcing the signing, Dundee United said that there was also English Championship interest and that Shankland "had lots of offers".

Shankland, who joined Ayr in 2017 after being released by Aberdeen having had spells on loan to Dunfermline Athletic, St Mirren and Greenock Morton, will wear the number 24 shirt as he turns that age next month.

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