John Lufudu has become the Mariners’ first signing of the summer.
The right-back has joined following his departure from Spennymoor Town, where he made 35 appearances in National League North last season.
Lufudu, 28, has an eye-catching style and is known for his ability at both ends of the pitch, as well as his blistering pace.
He will enter the 2023-24 campaign off the back of an excellent season which saw him earn Spennymoor’s Fans’ Player of the Year and Supporters’ Club Player of the Year Awards.
The DR Congo-born player said: “I’m delighted to have signed for South Shields and to be part of such a great club.
“I’ve always wanted to be a full-time footballer and South Shields are able to offer me that, as well as the opportunity to work with people I’ve worked with or played with before, like Tommy Miller.
“So many factors came together to make this an excellent move for me, and I already can’t wait for the start of the season.”
Lufudu has starred against the Mariners in the past for Ashton United, and played under Shields assistant manager Tommy Miller during his time at Spennymoor.
He has spoken of his eagerness to get to work under Miller and manager Julio Arca, and added: “When I met Julio and Tommy, they were clear about the ambition the club has and the direction we’re going to follow.
“They gave me a lot of excitement and confidence that we’re going to do very well.
“Having played against South Shields many times before and suffered a lot in those games, I’m really enthusiastic about being part of that team now because I know how good these players are.
“I’m eager for pre-season to start and to get to know everyone.”
Lufudu’s other previous clubs include Guiseley, Tadcaster Albion, AFC Emley, Carlton Town and Sheffield.
Shields manager Julio Arca said: “John is an exciting player who is capable of playing in a number of positions, and we’re delighted to have him with us.
“He will bring speed to our team - particularly our right-hand side – and will be able to play in a system with wing-backs or as part of a back four.
“On top of that, he is an experienced player who Tommy knows well from their time together at Spennymoor, and we know how excited John is about the club and training full-time.
“We’re really looking forward to working with him.”
On the prospect of further additions, Arca added: “I know the fans are really keen to find out news, and we’re trying our best to bring the right players in for the team.
“It might take a bit longer to get some signed than others, but we don’t want to make decisions in a rush, because that’s when mistakes can be made.
“We’re in conversations with plenty of players at the moment, and it’s just about making sure they’re the right ones for us.”