Stuart McCall today unveiled his first signing of the summer.

Rochdale defender Simon Ramsden, nicknamed Rambo, put pen to paper on a one-year deal with the option of a further season.

The 27-year-old crosses the Pennines with a decent reputation at League Two level. He was a first-team regular with Dale, clocking up 124 appearances with six goals.

Right back Ramsden, who joined Rochdale from Grimsby in January 2006, can also play in the middle of defence. And he showed his versatility by deputising for the suspended David Perkins in central midfield during the 2008 play-off final loss to Stockport at Wembley.

McCall said: “We’re trying to have a tight squad next year so it’s good that people can play different positions.

“As soon as I found out he was available, I was interested in bringing him in. He’s at a good age and has been an unsung hero for Rochdale.

“The good thing is that I didn’t need to sell the club to him. Simon was keen to join and wanted to get the deal sorted before he went away on holiday.”

Rochdale boss Keith Hill was gutted to see him go and admitted: “Simon is one of those quality players and would be an asset to anyone.

“I know that it was a difficult decision for him to make because he has been very happy here but I can fully understand his reasons.”

But McCall rubbished Hill’s claim that the offer from City was far more than Rochdale could match.

He said: “I thought we’d missed out on signing him and someone else had come in when I heard the comments from Rochdale.

“We offered Simon exactly the same as them. In fact it’s possibly less because while it’s a two-year deal, he’s got to play a certain number of games this season.

“He fits exactly in the wage structure that we have in place and we’re delighted to have him.”

But Ramsden’s arrival is likely to spell the end at Valley Parade for Paul Arnison.

The former Carlisle defender is only halfway through a two-year deal but will now be expected to move on.

Arnison appeared 28 times last season but failed to nail down a regular spot and found himself stuck on the bench behind TJ Moncur and Zesh Rehman.

Blackburn rookie Jonathan Bateson has already agreed to join as understudy so the right-back role will be well covered.

McCall’s rebuilding plans are gathering pace now that he is back in the office from his off-season break.

Young midfielder Luke Sharry has been added to the list of players who have agreed to their new contract offers.

The deadline for signing the deals is Saturday lunchtime, although Peter Thorne has been allowed longer to make up his mind.