Villa seal deals for full-backs Young and Shorey

August 7, 2008

Aston Villa have confirmed the signing of Reading's Nicky Shorey and Middlesbrough's Luke Young. Both full-backs will bolster Martin O'Neill's injury hit squad for a combined fee of around £8million.

Both Shorey and Young headed to the midlands earlier today after Villa agreed fees with Reading and Middlesbrough.

Shorey, 27, had been expected to leave Reading since their relegation last season with a number of clubs reportedly interested in his services.

The Londoner will fill the void left by Wilfred Bouma, who dislocated his ankle recently, and provide long-term competition for places.

O'Neill has made no secret of his desire to bolster the Villa squad and add strength in depth.

The former Celtic boss told the club's website: 'Strengthening the squad has obviously been in our minds for quite some considerable time.

'Obviously the injury to Freddie (Bouma) has left a gaping hole on the left. Freddie had a wonderful season for us last year and this wasn't necessarily a priority for us before the injury.

'But Nicky Shorey is more than a back-up. He's a quality player on the ball and is up for the challenge.'

Shorey revealed the ambition shown by O'Neill and advice from old friend Sidwell convinced him to move to the club.

'I'm delighted to be here,' he told the club's website.

'It's all come out of the blue a bit but it's a great challenge for me. This is a massive club and I'm really looking forward to it.

'There were other clubs interested but this is such a big club. Obviously I talked to the manager and he's very positive and very ambitious. That's what I am - especially after last season. I want to get back into the Premier League and show people what I can do.

'So I'm just grateful for the opportunity to play for such a big club as Aston Villa. I think I can achieve everything I want in the game at a club like this.

'Villa are definitely going places. You can tell by the signings they're making and the people already at the club.

'The manager is talking very positively here and obviously the chairman's backing him up. So I want to be a part of that.'

Young cost Boro a cut-price £2.5million after the Addicks' relegation last year but manager Gareth Southgate is likely to have negotiated a profit on a player who impressed in an inexperienced back four last year.

The former Tottenham and Charlton defender, 29, has seven England caps but has not featured for the national team since a friendly against Argentina in November 2005.

He could make his first competitive appearance for the Villans in next week's UEFA Cup qualifier against FH Hafnarfjordur, and Young admits the promise of European football was a major element in his decision to leave the Riverside Stadium.

'The chance of European football was definitely an important factor in my decision. You always want to test yourself at the highest level,' he said.

'I had a brief stint playing European football at Tottenham. But that was almost 10 years ago, and it will be great to get another chance this season.

'It's definitely a case that Villa's ambitions match my own. I've worked hard over the last 10 years to perhaps get this chance to show what I can do on a little bit of a higher stage.'