Motherwell have signed Irish midfielder Carl McHugh from Plymouth on a two-year contract amid claims he reneged on a new deal with the Home Park club.
The 23-year-old helped the League Two side to the play-off final last season and manager Derek Adams, former midfielder for the Steelmen, was confident he would sign fresh terms.
However, the former Republic of Ireland Under-21 international opted for a move to the Ladbrokes Premiership side and told the Lanarkshire club’s official YouTube channel: “It feels brilliant and I’m delighted to get it done at this stage and I’m looking forward to getting going and training with the lads and all the new boys.
“The Scottish Premiership this season has a lot of interest in it and it’s definitely on the way up.
“Motherwell had a really good season last season finishing fifth and I think it’s a brilliant opportunity for me and my career and it was something I couldn’t turn down for me and my family.”
Argyle expressed extreme disappointment over McHugh’s move, claiming “that contract terms for him to extend his contract with Plymouth Argyle were agreed in writing between Argyle’s CEO Martyn Starnes, Carl, and Carl’s agent Sky Andrew last Friday”.
A statement released by Plymouth said: “Carl subsequently confirmed in a telephone call with manager Derek Adams that he was planning to travel back to Home Park on Monday for pre-season training.
“However, on Monday morning, we were advised by Carl’s agent that he had been contacted by another club over the weekend and that Carl had expressed a wish to speak with them.
“We have now been informed that Carl has decided to join the Scottish Premiership team.
“We are extremely disappointed that Carl has changed his mind and chosen to join Motherwell after he had previously given his agent the authority to extend his contract with Argyle.”
McHugh, who can also play at centre-back or full-back, started his career at Reading before moving to Bradford City in 2012, joining Argyle two years later.
Well boss Mark McGhee was delighted to have secured the player in light of McHugh having had “several extremely good offers on the table from various clubs in England, including his previous club”.
He said: “Our scouts and I have watched the player for some time now and all the reports we have from others who know him are very positive indeed.
“Then, when Stephen Pearson’s move to India was confirmed, we stepped up our interest. He’s a type of hard-working, talented midfield player that fans will love, so I am very much looking forward to working with him.
“In terms of our recruitment, we would still like to bring in one more central midfielder and have a specific target in mind.
“However, to do that whilst ensuring we keep a tight grip on our budget, we’re going to have to wheel and deal a little, which we’re in the process of doing, but the squad is really coming together now.”