Richard Dunne completes Aston Villa move
The 29-year-old has joined the Midlands club on a four-year contract. Even though Villa had agreed a fee with City for the player last week, and then completed the signing yesterday, the club were unable to announce the signing on Tuesday night, despite submitting the necessary paperwork an hour before the transfer deadline closed and receiving clearance from the Football Association. That paperwork has now been approved, and Dunne is clear to make his Villa debut in the local derby against Birmingham City a week on Sunday. The former City captain was one of two defenders brought on board by Martin O’Neill, the Villa manager, on transfer deadline day. James Collins also joined from West Ham United. Both players were at Villa’s training ground undergoing medicals and negotiating personal terms, but they have now gone off to join their respective national sides, Dunne to Ireland and Collins to Wales. Their additions ahead of the rest of the Premier League season have given O’Neill some necessary defensive options, which had been looking worryingly thin since Martin Laursen’s retirement and Zat Knight’s sale to Bolton. That O’Neill has been able to resolve matters on the front line is credit to Villa owner Randy Lerner’s readiness to take an eye off the bottom line. The chairman, who flew in to oversee the final day of reinforcements, had warned of a summer of little spending. However, that turned out not to be the case, with Villa spending £11 million on the Dunne and Collins, £12 million on Stewart Downing, £8 million on Fabian Delph, £2.6 million on Habib Beye, and £8 million on Stephen Warnock from Blackburn. Even though a chunk of that will have been offset by the £12 million made by selling Gareth Barry to Manchester City, and £4 million brought in from Knight’s move to Bolton, spending over £40 million is hardly the modest outlay that Lerner anticipated in a rare interview with the media in May.
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