Villa sign Reo-Coker from Hammers

Aston Villa have signed West Ham United's former England U-21 captain Nigel Reo-Coker for £8.5 million. Villa manager Martin O'Neill has been chasing the midfielder for several months and finally got his man after the player passed a medical and agreed personal terms with the Premiership club.

Reo-Coker had asked to leave the Hammers at the end of last season and he will become an immediate replacement for Steven Davis, who left Villa for Fulham earlier on Thursday. "This is a fresh start for me, a new beginning and I do not want to dwell on the past," Reo-Coker said.

"I'm the sort of person who looks forward rather than backwards and I could spend hours talking about what went on at West Ham. A lot of things went on at West Ham, a lot of things. It was an experience which has hardened me."

Villa manager Martin O'Neill contests he too had been puzzled by the antipathy from some West Ham supporters towards their own captain. O'Neill said: "To be honest I was surprised by what went on at West Ham last season but, and you will forgive me for saying this, at that point in time it was not my problem.

"It is ironic though that if Nigel had not had those problems he would probably still be at West Ham. All I can say is that if he plays for us like he did at West Ham then that will be good enough."