Barnet have snapped up former Stevenage defender Bira Dembele on a two-year deal after his contract with the Bees' rivals came to an end.

The 27-year-old centre-back becomes Barnet's fifth signing since winning promotion to League Two and will bolster a defence which has been left light by the departure of Jack Saville.

Dembele was part of the Stevenage side beaten by Southend United across two legs of the League Two play-off semi-finals at the end of last season.

He said: “I am very happy to have joined Barnet Football Club and I hope to do very well here.

“I came here because the club has lots of ambition and when you play football you need to be ambitious to get anywhere. 

“I have played in this division before and I want to help Barnet push up another level. 

“I am very excited to start pre-season and meet the rest of the players so we can start working towards getting another promotion.”

The French defender began his professional career with top-flight Rennes, making nine appearances, and took in a loan spell with fellow Ligue 1 side US Boulogne during the 2009/10 season.

During his time with Rennes, the four cap French Under-21 international also made one appearance in the UEFA Europa League in 2008 and was a runner-up in the Coupe de France in the same season.

After returning to Rennes, Dembele joined Ligue 2 side Sedan in 2011 but made just one first-team appearance and was loaned out once more in 2012 to Red Star 93. 

The 6ft 3in defender made nine appearances for the Championnat National side, who have previously produced the lijkes of Alex Song, Abou Diaby and Moussa Sissoko.

In February 2014, he joined League One side Stevenage on a free transfer, making 13 league appearances as the Boro were relegated from the third tier.

Appointed captain last season, Dembele made 30 appearances in all competitions but Stevenage came up short against the Shrimpers in the semi-finals, losing 4-2 after extra time, before Phil Brown's men won promotion at Wembley.

A sickening clash of heads with Southend's Michael Timlin was Dembele withdrawn at half time of the first league and he ultimately missed the decisive clash at Roots Hall all together.