Crystal Palace have completed the signing of Peterborough United's Dwight Gayle for a club-record fee in the region of £4.5m as they seek to strengthen their squad for their return to the Premier League.

Gayle has signed a four-year contract at Selhurst Park, with Palace one of 12 clubs to have expressed an interest in the 22-year-old this summer. All were alerted by his fine form at Championship level last season, when he scored 13 goals in 29 games for relegated Peterborough.

"It's a huge statement for us and it proves that I don't care where I get my people from," said the Palace manager, Ian Holloway. "I believe it's about how good you're going to be, not just how good you are already. I think this fella has got Crystal Palace stamped all over him – the way he moves, the way he chases, the way he works. He's hungry for success and I'm absolutely thrilled that after long conversations we've come up with, I think, a proper Palace player."

The move completes Gayle's remarkable rise from non-league to top flight within 12 months. "He's got an opportunity now to go and enjoy his football and I think he'll score goals at Premier League level," said Holloway. "He's born to score goals. Goals from certain people just keep happening, it doesn't matter which level you start at, they just keep happening. I think the way he plays, the boy moves like a top player. It's now about helping him deal with the top level against top defenders. My chairman went in with a brief – don't come out of the room without getting him – and I'm thankful. He's given us a goalscorer of the future in our team right now, which is priceless."

Gayle becomes Palace's second permanent signing of the summer to date, after Stephen Dobbie from Brighton, with Jerome Thomas close to becoming a third after his release from West Bromwich Albion. The Sierra Leone utility player Umaru Bangura, currently with Haugesund in Norway and once on Watford's books only to be denied a work permit, is also attracting the London club's interest, while Palace await to discover whether their former player, Wilfried Zaha, will be permitted to leave Manchester United on loan to gain regular first-team football in the Premier League next term. There remains the possibility that he could return to the club on a 12-month loan, even though Zaha hopes to be granted a chance to prove himself at Old Trafford.

The fee for Gayle, who joined Peterborough from Dagenham & Redbridge in January for an initial £500,000, is understood to involve an initial down-payment of around £3.25m with a further £1.25m in add-ons. "The chance came and I had to grab it because I might not get another," he said. "To be playing in the Premier League from where I've come from is a big achievement really. I'm just really looking forward to it and hopefully I can take the opportunity with both hands and do well."