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This week in transfers: Saints, Spurs, Swans, Villa snap up defenders

Aston Villa, 7/2 chances with Coral not to be so lucky in 2015/16 and endure Premier League relegation, head this week’s transfer activity after agreeing to sign ex-England international defender Micah Richards, 26, on a free once his contract with Manchester City ends.

Richards, who can play right full back or centre half, spent last term on loan with Serie A side Fiorentina, but any hopes of a permanent switch there were scuppered by the shock sacking of Viola coach Vincenzo Montella. He has penned a four-year contract with Tim Sherwood’s side.

Tottenham, meanwhile, have taken Burnley’s Kieran Trippier, 24, to White Hart Lane on a five-year deal, and is believed to be costing them in excess of £3.5m. He is another graduate of Man City’s academy. Spurs are 5/1 shots to finish in the top four this coming term.

Demotix 11/01/2014

Sticking with defenders, 12/1 top four chances Southampton have signed Portugal right back Cedric Soares, 23, from Sporting Lisbon for a reported fee of up to £4.7m. Also handed a four-year deal, his arrival on the south coast has resulted in further speculation that Nathaniel Clyne will leave St Mary’s this summer.

Swansea City have concluded a deal to take attacking St-Etienne left back Franck Tabanou to the Liberty Stadium. The fee is believed to be more than £3m, and Garry Monk has given his latest arrival a three-year contract.

Derby bring in Baird and Weimann
Paul Clement continues to reshape the Derby County squad following his first appointment as head coach at Pride Park. The Rams, who are 11/4 Championship promotion favourites, have now made five summer signings following the arrivals of Austrian attacker Andreas Weimann from Villa for £2.75m and Northern Ireland utility man Chris Baird, who was released by West Bromwich Albion.

Soccer - Barclays Premier League - Aston Villa v Southampton - Villa Park

Weimann, 23, was identified as a target by Derby before they axed Clement’s predecessor Steve McClaren and has joined on a four-year deal. Veteran Baird, a decade older than his new teammate, has a two-year contract at the East Midlands outfit.

Return of the Mackie at QPR
Jamie Mackie will re-join 5/1 promotion chances QPR after being released by Nottingham Forest. Hoops head coach Chris Ramsey has handed the 29-year-old hard-working former Scotland forward a two-year deal following a season-long loan spell at Reading last term.

Lonergan and Pringle find new home at Fulham
Former Premier League side Fulham have added two new faces to their ranks, Bolton Wanderers keeper Andy Lonergan and Roterham United winger Ben Pringle, on free transfers. Both have signed two-year contracts at Craven Cottage.