Aston Villa says N`Zogbia deal very close

New Aston Villa boss Alex McLeish on Tuesday said French midfielder Charles N`Zogbia will join the club.

Hong Kong: New Aston Villa boss Alex McLeish on Tuesday said French midfielder Charles N`Zogbia will join the club for £9.5 million ($15.5 million) pending a medical.

Villa have agreed the price with Wigan for the winger, after improving on an initial bid of £9 million, leaving McLeish excited at the prospect of adding quality on flanks after the departures of Ashley Young and Stewart Downing.

"We believe everything else is there," McLeish said in Hong Kong. "I believe he`s a great addition to the squad."He is an explosive player and gives us a little bit of quality that replaces one or two of the guys that have left the squad."

Having seen a deal to bring N`Zogbia to Birmingham City fall apart last summer over personal terms, McLeish is glad to be closing in on his man at a second club.

Villa captain Stiliyan Petrov said N`Zogbia has always been a tough opponent who seems to have played particularly well against the club he`s now set to join.

"He is able to take players on," Petrov said. "He`s an exceptional talent. I think he will adapt well."
Petrov noted that the Frenchman, who is on an extended leave after duty with the French national team, is much sought after.

"He is a name that a lot of big clubs have been chasing, and we managed to land him before anyone else was able to get to him first," Petrov added.

With the addition of new No. 1 Shay Given, who has completed his £3.5 million move from Manchester City, the manager hopes the Birmingham club will get off to a flying start.

McLeish admitted it is hard for clubs like Aston Villa to compete for British players, and he played down the prospects of Villa improving on last season`s ninth-place finish.
"Some of the prices are quite unbelievable," he said. "We`re also looking at our own finances within the club and trying to keep everything correct. Randy Lerner is a man that Aston Villa players trust. There`s no doubt we want to get our sums right in terms of the way the club is run."

Aston Villa are in Hong Kong for the Barclays Asia Trophy exhibition tournament, and will face Blackburn on Wednesday evening.

Bureau Report

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