Villa complete Sidwell transfer

Aston Villa finally completed the signing of midfielder Steve Sidwell from Chelsea today. The 25-year-old agreed a three-year contract after passing a medical, and is believed to have cost £5 million.

The deal had been in the pipeline for several weeks, and Sidwell admitted it was a relief to make the switch to Villa Park following a disappointing season at Stamford Bridge, where he made just seven Premier League starts. "I am absolutely delighted to join," he told Villa's official website.

"It's taken a while but now it's done I am excited and looking forward to meeting my new team-mates and getting on the pitch and playing football. There's been a lot of speculation and rumour about the deal and it has played on my mind a little, but I've been professional and kept my head down.

"I am here now and can't wait to put a Villa shirt on and play for the fans. For me personally, it's about getting back and playing. I have had a year of not playing as much as I would have liked so to get out on the pitch is the first aim.

"It's straight down to work really. I have already done some pre-season with Chelsea but the hard work starts now."

Sidwell is Martin O'Neill's first signing of the close-season, but his arrival may not speed Gareth Barry's departure because Villa will not sell him to Liverpool for less than £18 million.