Wigan and Villa sign strikers

Wigan on Friday agreed to sell Emile Heskey to Aston Villa for £3.5 million and taken Egypt striker Mido on loan from Middlesbrough as cover until the end of the season. England forward Heskey will join Villa provided he passes a medical and can agree personal terms while Mido is being lined up to former an Egyptian double act with compatriot Amr Zaki.

Heskey's move will reunite him with Villa boss Martin O'Neill, who was in charge of Leicester when they sold the forward to Liverpool for £11 million in 2000. Heskey, 31, has been offered a three-and-a-half-year contract and O'Neill believes he will strengthen the club's drive for a place in the UEFA Champions League.

"We are in a decent position at the moment," O'Neill said. "We need to keep the momentum going. We don't have the biggest squad in the world, and currently John Carew is out and Ashley Young is suspended. "Emile will bring something to us. Gabriel Agbonlahor has done fantastic up front on his own, and Emile will give us another option."

The former Celtic boss added: "I know him from my days at Leicester, and he was fantastic for us. He had plenty of natural talent, even though he was only a young kid. "We were sad to see him leave. But he wanted to go to Liverpool and play with Michael Owen - and he has done exceptionally well in his career."

O'Neill confirmed that he is also hoping to sign a centreback before the transfer window closes at the start of next month. That has become a greater priority after captain Martin Laursen was ruled out for two months following knee surgery.

Wigan boss Steve Bruce, who has now lost two of his best players after the sale of Wilson Palacios to Spurs, said he was confident Mido could plug the gap left by Heskey. "Mido brings vast experience to the table," Bruce said.

"He has a good Premier League pedigree having scored goals at Tottenham and Middlesbrough, and he has also played for some huge European clubs where he gained Champions League and UEFA Cup experience.

"He is still a relatively young man with potentially his best years ahead of him and hopefully he can produce a bit of magic for us during the rest of the season." Mido began his career at Zamalek, the Egyptian club Zaki is on loan from.

The 25-year-old told Wigan's website, www.wiganlatics.co.uk: "Wigan are a club moving in the right direction who play great football and their league position is no fluke. "I'm really looking forward to teaming up with some excellent players.

"When a man like Steve Bruce, who has achieved so much in the game, says he wants you, you have to take up opportunities like that. "My focus now is entirely on making sure we reach safety and then progress as far as we can this season.

"I'm also really pleased to be teaming up with Zaki. He is a top player and a good friend and it always helps when there are familiar faces when you join a new club. "Now I just want to show the Wigan public what I am all about and play football."