Aston Villa finally completed the protracted signing of midfielder Steve Sidwell from Chelsea on Thursday.
Sidwell, 25, agreed a three-year contract after passing a medical and is believed to have cost five million pounds (6.2 million euros).
The deal had been in the pipeline for several weeks and Sidwell admitted it was a relief to make the switch to Villa Park after a disappointing season at Chelsea, where he made just seven Premier League starts.
“I am absolutely delighted to join. It’s taken a while but now it’s done I am excited and looking forward to meeting my new team-mates and getting on the pitch and playing football,” he told Villa’s website.
“There’s been a lot of speculation and rumour about the deal and it has played on my mind a little but I’ve been professional and kept my head down.
“I am here now and can’t wait to put a Villa shirt on and play for the fans. For me personally, it’s about getting back and playing. I have had a year of not playing as much as I would have liked so to get out on the pitch is the first aim.
“It’s straight down to work really. I have already done some pre-season with Chelsea but the hard work starts now.”
Sidwell is Villa manager Martin O’Neill’s first signing of the close-season but his arrival may not speed Gareth Barry’s departure because O’Neill won’t sell to Liverpool for less than 18 million pounds (22.5 million euros) fee.
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