x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Villa's Dunne deal given green light

Aston Villa finally completed the signing of the Republic of Ireland captain Richard Dunne from Manchester City yesterday, taking their summer spending to £40million (Dh237m).

Aston Villa finally completed the signing of the Republic of Ireland captain Richard Dunne from Manchester City yesterday, taking their summer spending to £40million (Dh237m). Despite submitting the relevant paperwork an hour before the 5pm (BST) transfer window deadline on Tuesday, the Premier League asked for more time to ratify the deal before giving Villa the green light to conclude their £6m purchase.

The move brings an end to Dunne's nine-year association with City, but with the arrival of Kolo Toure and Joleon Lescott at Eastlands, the writing was on the wall as he was omitted from the starting XI that beat Portsmouth 1-0 on Sunday at Fratton Park. Dunne is Villa's second defensive reinforcement after they also signed the Welsh international James Collins from West Ham for a fee of £5m. Villa captain Stiliyan Petrov welcomed Dunne's arrival, believing manager Martin O'Neill had found the perfect replacement for talismanic former defender Martin Laursen, who was forced to retire with a knee injury over the summer.

"He's the captain of Ireland, he's been the captain of Manchester City. You love to see players like that coming to this club," said the Bulgarian midfielder. "Martin Laursen was a big player for us, with his presence and his influence. But he, like Gareth Barry, is now gone and we need to get on without him. Everton manager David Moyes said the deal, which could eventually rise to £7m, for Johnny Heitinga from Atletico Madrid represented excellent value for the Merseysiders, with the Netherlands international able to operate in a number of roles. "Until Phil Jagielka returns from injury we need another player who can fill in at centre-back, and I also felt we needed some more competition at right-back," he said.

The England defender Ashley Cole has followed in teammate John Terry's footsteps in penning a new deal at Chelsea. The 28-year-old fullback, who joined the club from London rivals Arsenal in 2006, has signed a new four-year contract at Stamford Bridge. * With agencies