WALES international Christian Ribeiro has ended weeks of speculation about his future by signing a new deal with Exeter City, and now wants to lead the side to promotion next season, writes Christian Cooke.

The Grecians’ Player of the Year enjoyed a fantastic debut campaign following his arrival from Scunthorpe United last summer, making 39 league appearances as City finished 10th in League Two.

His contract was up at the end of the season, and manager Paul Tisdale was desperate to retain his services, with the likes of Swindon Town, Shrewsbury Town and Championship side Birmingham City reportedly showing interest.

He said: “Exeter was always in the forefront of my mind during the summer negotiations. I was treated very well there and I thoroughly enjoyed their working environment.

“I had other opportunities after speaking to different clubs which I’m very grateful for but I decided Exeter was the best place to progress my career.”

“I spoke with the manager Paul Tisdale to make sure the club’s ambitions matched my own in looking to rise up the leagues and they certainly did.

“That was a massive contributing factor to my decision. Last season we narrowly missed out on the play-offs after a horrendous start to the season with a barely fit squad - this year we shouldn’t have the same issues and hopefully we can get off to a good start and enjoy a successful campaign near the top of the division.”

A former product of the Bristol City Academy, Ribeiro’s Exeter side suffered a slump in form in the final few weeks of the season that ruled them out of play-off contention.

And in a bid to achieve a top-six finish this time round, the Devon-based outfit secured the signings of Preston winger Lee Holmes, former Brentford midfielder Manny Oyeleke and ex-Aston Villa academy goalkeeper Bobby Olejnik.

It’s not the heady heights of Premier League football that could have awaited the Marling School pupil when he was linked with a move to Everton back in 2008, but he’s nonetheless committed to get Exeter back into League One after a three-year absence.

Ribeiro joined the Grecians off the back of promotion with Scunthorpe, and will be hoping to repeat the feat in his second season at St James’ Park.