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Aston Villa land Lille and Senegal midfielder Idrissa Gueye

Aston Villa, 4/1 with Coral for a top 10 finish, have announced the signing of Lille midfielder Idrissa Gueye, with the Senegal star joining Tim Sherwood’s side on a four-year deal, having completed his medical with the Birmingham-based club.

Energetic and influential engine-room marshal Gueye, who reportedly cost £9m but Villa would not disclose the fee, was one of the standout stars in Ligue 1 last term, and widely regarding as Lille’s most impressive player. He replaces Manchester City-bound Fabian Delph.

With London club Crystal Palace and south coast side Southampton also rumoured to be chasing the powerful 25-year-old’s signature, Villa’s swoop can definitely be considered a coup.

The dynamic Dakar-born midfielder began his career with Senegalese team Diambars before arriving in Europe to join the Great Danes in 2008, finally making his first senior outing in 2010, going on to make almost 180 appearances.

Capped 18 times for the Lions of Teranga, tenacious Gueye is tipped as a rising star in African football after recording a European career-best four goals and three assists last term alongside some inspirational performances, and should help Sherwood shore-up the Midlands club’s midfield.

Villa currently boast both Fabian Delph and Ashley Westwood as their first-choice pair to hold down the midfield thought, but Gueye would bring further muscle and drive. Snapping-up the Senegal international will ensure Sherwood has a ready-made replacement should Delph decide to seek pastures new, or while Westwood missed a large chunk of last term through injury.

Soccer - Ligue 1 - Lille v Lens - Stade Pierre-Mauroy

The Villans have already lost loan star Tom Cleverley, who opted for a permanent deal with Everton instead, while rumours persist that top poacher Christian Benteke is Liverpool-bound, so this signing is a significant boost for fans.

Gueye is also one of the Villans’ most expensive transfers for some time, since Charles N’Zogbia joined on from Wigan Athletic for a reported fee £9.5m in 2011, which should give supporters hope of significant investment following last season’s relegation scare.

Aston Villa are also apparently eyeing Anderlecht’s attacking midfielder Dennis Praet to further enhance their options, though the highly-rated Belgian youngster could command a price tag of around £10m, and is also rumoured to have attracted interest from Everton and the Saints.