The Cobblers have signed Swindon Town’s Iraqi international central midfielder Yaser Kasim on a two-year deal.
Kasim was out of contract at the County Ground, but was offered a new deal by the Robins and was reportedly attracting interest from Sky Bet Championship outfit Bristol City, as well as Charlton Athletic and clubs in Portugal.
Born in Baghdad before moving to England with his family when he was six, Kasim has played international football for Iraq, winning 18 caps for his country and scoring three goals.
Labelled a tough-tackling defensive midfielder, he began his career in the youth system at Tottenham Hotspur, before signing a first professional contract at Brighton & Hove Albion in 2010.
During his three years on the south coast, Kasim failed to break into the Seagulls’ first team, playing just twice, but he did have loan spells in the National League with Luton Town and Macclesfield, before making the move to Swindon Town on a free transfer in 2013.
In his first two seasons with Swindon Kasim was a virtual ever present, helping the team to the league one play-off final at Wembley, where they were thumped 4-0 by Preston North End.
His form at that time saw him nicknamed the ‘Iraqi Pirlo’ and he was on the radar of several higher division clubs, including West Ham United, Swansea City and Wolverhampton Wanderers, but the reported interest was never followed up and he stayed in Wiltshire.
The following season saw injuries disrupt his season, while last term he was again a regular in the Swindon team until the turn of the year - playing 90 minutes in the Cobblers’ 3-1 win at the County Ground in September - before he found himself out of favour as Swindon slid towards relegation to league two.
Indeed, Kasim only played four games for Swindon in 2017, with his last appearance for the club in a 2-1 home defeat to bitter rivals Oxford United on February 5.
In all he made 139 appearances in his four year stay at Swindon Town, scoring eight goals.
Kasim is the seventh new signing of the summer at Sixfields, following on from Daniel Powell, George Smith, Sam Foley, Leon Barnett, Steve Waters and Dean Bowditch.
The Cobblers are still in the market for at least four new players, with three central defenders and a goalkeeper on the shopping list.
Town play their first pre-season friendly of the summer at Sileby Rangers on Saturday, before heading off to Spain for a training camp on Sunday (July 9).