Villa sign Fulham's Knight

Aston Villa manager Martin O'Neill's long summer search for a centre-back ended Wednesday with the signing of Zat Knight from Fulham.

The 27-year-old, who has a single England cap to his name, cost the Birmingham club 5.25 million euros (7.1 million dollars).

"Zat has got a lot of natural talent. I'm hoping that if he performs the way he can perform and has done in the past, we can expect him to be a big asset," said O'Neill.

Born in Birmingham, Knight grew up in the Aston area of the city and has always been a Villa fan.

"I have been supporting Villa ever since I first got to know and understand about football really, so it was from a young age," Knight told the club's official website.

"I'm from Aston for starters, so it always made complete sense to support them. Villa were my local team, simple as that.

"I had trials at schoolboy level for Villa but it never got any further than that. As a youngster that was obviously really disappointing, but as it turned out I got opportunities elsewhere and it all turned out good in the end."