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Dublin: 15 °C Thursday 2 July, 2020

Done deal: Villa sign El Ahmadi

The Moroccan international midfielder joins Paul Lambert’s side from Feyenoord.

El Ahmadi playing for Feyenoord.
El Ahmadi playing for Feyenoord.
Image: Adam Davy/EMPICS Sport

ASTON VILLA HAVE signed midfielder Karim El Ahmadi from Dutch side Feyenoord on a three-year deal for an undisclosed fee, the English Premier League club announced Monday.

The Morocco international helped Feyenoord finish runners-up behind Ajax in the Eredivisie last season and so qualify for the Champions League.

El Ahmadi, 27, was Paul Lambert’s first signing as Villa manager.

“I’m very excited about coming here to a massive club and I’m looking forward to playing here,” El Ahmadi told Villa’s website.

I’m very happy that the manager wants me and that the club wants me and I’m looking forward to starting training again.

“It’s nice that I am the manager’s first transfer and I am looking forward to doing good things with the team and with the club this year.

“This club should be competing in the top half of the table and I am looking forward to achieving that with the team.

“It was always a dream of mine to play in the Premier League.

“We played a lot of Sundays in Holland so I was able to watch all of the games on Saturday and I think this is the best league in the world.

It will be a challenge to show people what I can do. As a player, I always want to have the ball and that is my main quality.

“That’s what I did at Feyenoord and hopefully I can show the fans, the club and the manager my quality.”

Lambert added: “Karim will help the team, I have no doubt about that.

“He’s a really good footballer and he’s played well in a good team, a big team, and I’m looking forward to working with him.

“In fact, I’m really looking forward to getting things going on Thursday when the lads will report back for pre-season.”

Villa, the 1982 European Cup winners, finished a disappointing 16th in the Premier League last season, just two points above the relegation zone.

That prompted the Birmingham club to sack then manager Alex McLeish and replace him with fellow Scot Lambert, who’d impressed while in charge of top-flight rivals Norwich.


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