Former Southend attacker Francis Laurent has joined Northampton Town on a free transfer from AFC Compiegne.The 25-year-old Frenchman, who was released by the Shrimpers in the summer for financial reasons, has signed a deal until the end of the season. [LNB]The Cobblers are not expecting to get international clearance in time for Laurent to feature against Gillingham on Saturday. [LNB]"I am pleased to bring Francis to the club," said boss Ian Sampson. [LNB]"He is an attacking player who can play in a number of positions, and he is someone who has the pace and the ability to beat players.[LNB] Let's be thankful that the chairman is actually allowing money to be used on the transfers instead of going 'Hang on! I've spent enough of my OWN money on this club' NTFCTubes "We have had to move fast to beat other clubs to sign him, he is highly rated and was close to earning himself a deal at a couple of Championship clubs earlier in the season." [LNB]Laurent, who can play on the wing or up front, started his career at French side FC Sochaux, making 12 appearances in his first season. [LNB]He also had a spell in Germany before joining Southend in August 2008, where he scored 10 goals in 42 games. [LNB]After being released in July he had a trial with Coventry City but went back to France to play with AFC Compiegne. [LNB]Sampson is also reported to be holding talks with Crewe striker Calvin Zola.