Transfer latest: Richardson joins Villa, Baggies purchase Pocognoli
Aston Villa, 11/4 with Coral to be the relegated from the Premier League, have swooped for Fulham and former Manchester United left-sided player Kieran Richardson, handing him a two-year contract.
The ex-England international, 29, moves to Villa Park from the relegated west London outfit for an undisclosed fee. Paul Lambert has clearly identified the left-hand side as a problem area at the Birmingham club as Spaniard Antonio Luna, who signed for Villa last summer, and Joe Bennett rotated in that position throughout the 2013/14 campaign.
Richardson will add Premier League experience to a squad that has a youthful flavour. He becomes Lambert’s third signing of this transfer window, following earlier captures of Switzerland centre back Philippe Senderos and another England old boy Joe Cole.
Linking up once again with recently appointed Villa assistant manager Roy Keane, who signed him for Sunderland from United in 2007, Richardson has almost 250 English top-flight appearances under his belt.
In other news from across the Second City, West Bromwich Albion, who are a shorter 13/5 to go down, have finally secured the services of a senior left back by buying Belgian Sebastien Pocognoli from Bundesliga outfit Hannover.
The 26-year-old has penned a three-year contract at The Hawthorns after moving for an undisclosed fee. National coach Marc Wilmots omitted Pocognoli from his World Cup squad, however, as he favoured natural centre halves Thomas Vermaelen and Jan Vertonghen for the left-sided defensive berth at the Brazil finals.
Due to two changes of coach since December, Albion have not taken up any of the loan signing made last season, meaning Macedonia defender Goran Popov returned to his parent club Dynamo Kiev. Liam Ridgewell, meanwhile, was out of contract at the Baggies and has moved to MLS franchise Portland Timbers on a free transfer.
New West Brom boss Alan Irvine has already moved to strengthen his defence, however, by bringing in free agents Joleon Lescott and Chris Baird. Craig Gardner, a midfielder by trade that can also operate at right back, is the other summer recruit made by the Baggies.