Rams to recruit Argentinian striker Villa

January 4, 2008

Derby County manager Paul Jewell will finally strengthen his beleaguered Rams squad with the signing of Argentinian striker Emanuel Villa.

The 25-year-old, who has scored 10 goals in 28 appearances for Mexican side UAG Tecos, flew in at 10pm on Thursday night.

Terms have already been agreed on a £2million deal that will be completed once Villa passes a medical and international clearance is received.

Derby will represent Villa's sixth club in seven years as he has previously played for Club Atletico Huracan, Atletico Rafaela and Rosario Central in Argentina, along with Atlas and UAG Tecos in Mexico.

The move, though, will not be done in time for Villa to make his Rams debut in the FA Cup third-round tie with Sheffield Wednesday at Pride Park on Sunday.

It is another game in which Jewell will again take a head count as he concedes he is 'down to the bare bones' for the clash with his former club, and not for the first time recently.

Derby's injury crisis was compounded on Wednesday in the 1-0 loss at Bolton as Jay McEveley suffered knee ligament damage.

McEveley underwent scans late on Thursday, with the left-back almost certain to be ruled out on Friday for at least three months, and potentially for the remainder of the season.

'The treatment room is an horrendous place at the moment - you can't get in there!' joked Jewell in a bid to make light of a difficult situation.

Along with McEveley, Jewell could again be without Dean Leacock, Stephen Bywater, Rob Earnshaw, Andy Griffin, Stephen Pearson, Andy Todd and Dave Jones.

It is why Jewell is being linked with all and sundry, including Blackburn midfielder Robbie Savage and Tottenham bad-boy Hossam Ghaly.

The Egyptian midfielder has not played for Spurs since the penultimate match of last season when he threw his shirt to the ground after being substituted by then boss Martin Jol.

Another player with a troublesome reputation in former Newcastle and Portsmouth winger Laurent Robert will train with the Rams for the first time on Friday as he starts a trial.

Certainly Jewell is hoping that by the time he plays another of his former clubs in Wigan in eight days' time, Villa will not be the only new face on show.

'There is still a bit of work to do behind the scenes,' added Jewell.

'But we certainly hope to have a couple of new faces in by the time we play Wigan.'