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Wednesday, January 30, 2008
Bolton clinch deal for Villa stopper Cahill

Bolton have won the race to sign Aston Villa central defender Gary Cahill, in a deal believed to be worth around 5million.

The young centre-back has signed a three-and-a-half-year deal at the Reebok Stadium, after weeks of uncertainty surrounding his future.

Bolton boss Gary Megson told the club's website, 'He is a player I have admired for a long time. Gary is very talented and at 22 years of age has a very, very bright future ahead of him.

'It is fantastic news that he has agreed to join Bolton Wanderers.'

Cahill added: 'It is the right move for me to come to Bolton.

'I had a look around their set-up and met with the manager and chairman - and I was impressed with what I saw and heard.'

Bolton were the first club to agree a fee with Villa for the Academy product, who had spent three months on loan with Sheffield United earlier this season.

Villa's city rivals Birmingham made a late attempt to sign Cahill, after matching their neighbours' valuation of the player.

But sources close to the player had indicated Cahill 'wants to make a complete break from the midlands' and rebuild his career at the Reebok Stadium.

The 22-year-old therefore decided not to follow in the footsteps of Liam Ridgewell, who moved from Villa to Birmingham in a 2million deal during the summer.

Cahill had slipped down the pecking order at Villa, after appearing regularly during the first half of the 2006-07 campaign.

He found himself fourth in line behind Martin Laursen, Curtis Davies and Zat Knight.

Villa boss Martin O'Neill did not want Cahill to go on loan for the remainder of the season.

Cahill has been with Villa since he was a youngster and two seasons ago had a successful spell on loan at Burnley, where he won 10 various player-of-the-year awards.

Yet he found himself always struggling to hold down a regular first-team place at Villa, and the arrival during the summer of Davies and Knight signalled the beginning of the end for his Villa prospects.

His decision not to move to Birmingham is a big blow for their manager Alex McLeish, who has only Ridgewell and Rafael Schmitz as recognised centre-halves - with Radhi Jaidi currently on African Nations Cup duty.

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