Stoke City have completed the signing of Senegal international midfielder Salif Diao on a free transfer.
Midfielder Diao was outstanding for Stoke last season
The 30-year-old has agreed a deal which will keep him at the Britannia Stadium until at least the summer of 2009.
Despite the transfer window being closed the deal for the former Liverpool man was able to be completed as he was a free agent.
Diao made 27 appearances for Stoke last season, and immediately became a fans favourite at the Britannia Stadium.
Diao made a £5million move from French club CS Sedan Ardennes to Liverpool after impressive performances for Senegal at the 2002 World Cup. But the defensive midfielder failed to make an impact at Anfield and short-term spells at Birmingham, Portsmouth and Stoke followed.
Diao was offered a new deal by the Potters during the summer but did not put pen to paper as the midfielder was worried about his fitness.
Boss Tony Pulis regards the player as integral to the club's hopes of gaining promotion to the Premier League and added: "We have shown our ambition by bringing him here."
Confirming the deal Chief Executive Tony Scholes said: "I am absolutely delighted we have managed to agree a deal to sign Salif.
"As supporters know, he has been Tony Pulis' top target for some months. He was an integral part of our squad last season, and we are delighted to have him back."
Pulis added: "Salif is a fantastic player, and I am obviously very, very happy to have him back.
"He is the sort of player that this Football Club needs to push on, and we have shown our ambition by bringing him here."