Jimmy Ryan has turned down the chance to stay at Chesterfield in favour of a move to League One rivals Fleetwood Town.
The 26-year-old midfielder had been in discussions with the Spireites over a new deal for some time and the club held high hopes of keeping him.
But the former Scunthorpe United man has opted for a switch to Fleetwood and he has signed a two-year contract with Graham Alexander’s Cod Army.
Fleetwood chairman Andy Pilley said: “We are absolutely thrilled that Jimmy Ryan is joining the football club. I sincerely believe he is one of the best midfielders in League One.
“It is a statement of intent. A lot of people have wrongly assumed that because the focus is on value for money and that we lack ambition. We have just spent £6 million on a new training ground.
“We are as hungry as ever and we want to eventually see this club in the Championship. Players like Jimmy Ryan will help us reach our target.
“He does not give the ball away, his energy levels are exceptional. Jimmy is a consistent performer and he was hugely influential in Chesterfield reaching in the League One play-offs.
“Graham has done a great job with Jimmy. He has convinced him this is the right club to join. I am very excited that Jimmy Ryan has come on board; I firmly believe he will be an excellent player for us.”
Ryan joined Chesterfield in the summer of 2013 and was a consistent performer over the past two seasons as the Spireites clinched the League Two title and a play-off spot in League One.
He made 100 appearances for the Spireites, scoring eight goals, including a thunderbolt at Highbury in the northern area final of the JPT in 2013/14 season.