Republic of Ireland international defender Alex Pearce has become new Derby manager Paul Clement's first signing as he joins the Championship club from Reading.

The 26-year-old has signed a three-year deal with the Rams and joins on a free contract after his deal with Reading expired.

Clement, who himself is new to Derby, having moved to the club from Real Madrid this summer said: "Alex Pearce is an experienced central defender and we’re very pleased to have him signed.

"He is strong, physical and an international footballer as well so he has lot of good qualities."

Pearce said: "It’s a big thing for me to get this deal over the line and I’m really delighted that everything has been finalised. 

"I found out about it quite early doors after the season finished and after we had got in contact with each other, everything escalated really quickly. 

"It’s been a smooth transition and it is very pleasing that I’m going to be part of such a great club going forward.

"The ambition of the club was a huge pull for me. I spoke to certain people within the club and it was clear to see that there is a clear vision here at Derby to not only get into the Premier League, but stay there and that is something that you want to be part of as a player. 

"I want to now play a key part in this club moving forward of this club getting out of the Championship and into the Premier League."

The Irish defender will link up with his new club at the end of the month.

Pearce is expected to be joined at Derby by England international striker Darren Bent who is also set to join on a free transfer having parted company with Aston Villa.

Also making an exit from Villa is Enda Stevens who leaves having made nine appearances after joining from Shamrock Rovers in January 2012.