Congolese frontman Offrande Zanzala has become Carlisle United's first new signing of the January transfer window.

The former Accrington and Derby player has joined the Blues after his departure from Crewe.

Zanzala, 23, has been training with the squad this week and has now completed his move on a deal until the end of the season.

His arrival sees United bolster Chris Beech's attacking options for the Cumbrians' promotion push in the second half of the season.

His arrival also offsets this week's departure of another striker in Gavin Reilly, who left to join Livingston.Zanzala has made 10 appearances for Crewe this campaign, scoring one goal, before his exit from the Alexandra Stadium was confirmed last Saturday.

He has past promotion experience in League Two having been part of the Accrington squad that sealed the title in 2018.

The forward was born in the Democratic Republic of Congo before civil war in the country led his family to flee to Europe.

After a spell living in Austria, his family moved to England when Zanzala was eight, and he joined Derby's academy four years later.

He remained on the Rams' books until 2018, and had loan spells with Stevenage, Chester and Accrington in that time before joining Stanley permanently after their promotion.

News and Star: Zanzala lifts the League Two title trophy with Accrington Stanley in 2018 (photo: PA)Zanzala lifts the League Two title trophy with Accrington Stanley in 2018 (photo: PA)

After 60 appearances on their permanent books and 14 goals, he joined Crewe last summer but struggled to hold down a place in David Artell's League One side.

His switch to United became apparent to fans this week when Zanzala's car was spotted at Brunton Park, with a number of Blues players also following the forward on social media.

Zanzala has been in United's sights for some time and Beech said the forward has pace, power and "the knack of getting a goal".

“He ticks the boxes in terms of our own style of play, much more so than others we looked at," Beech added on the club website.

He is a former Derby colleague of Callum Guy and was with Nick Anderton at Accrington.

“All this helps significantly," Beech added. "I’ve spoken in the past about the sorts of dynamics I wanted to build. Those relationships automatically help our boys battle that little bit more for each other, run that bit extra.

“Things didn’t work out for him with newly-promoted Crewe in League One and they played in a different way that didn’t work for him individually.

“He’s hungry to succeed, he’s a great age at 24, and he wants to do well. As football club, we all want to support that, and I’m delighted we’ve managed to work ever so hard to get him with us."