London - Former South Africa seamer Charl Willoughby has switched English counties to join Essex from Somerset on a two-year contract, it was announced on Monday.
The 36-year-old left-armer was released by Somerset at the end of last season after a six-year stint with the south-west side.
"Essex made a concerted effort to come and meet me," Willoughby told his new club's website on Monday.
"Head coach Paul Grayson and myself had a long discussion and we discussed my aims and that of Essex. The plan now is for these to come to fruition.
"I obviously have a lot of experience in the game and Paul Grayson wants a wise old head to help David Masters with the bowling attack. Essex have some promising youngsters coming through the ranks and I can certainly pass on some of my knowledge as a left-armer.
"The club is hoping to gain promotion to Division One and succeed in one-day cricket. We hope together as a team that we can achieve these goals."
Grayson added: "I'm delighted with the signing of Charl. He is a very experienced bowler and someone we wanted to add to our ranks alongside David Masters and Graham Napier.
"He is a quality left-arm bowler and we see him also helping Reece Topley and Tymal Mills in their development with his experience and knowledge of the game.
"He is a big signing for us because when it was announced that he was leaving Somerset there were four or five other counties who came in to try and sign him."