Thursday 23 January 2014
Aston Villa signed highly-rated winger Ashley Young from Watford.
The deal for the 21-year-old, who signed a four-and-a-half year deal, cost an initial £8m but included potential add-ons.
Young made his debut for Watford in 2003 as an 18-year-old and Hornets manager Aidy Boothroyd revealed that seven top-flight clubs had been pursuing the player.
“I think Ashley can kick on again because of his mental capabilities and the manager of the club he’s going to,” he said. “I have a great deal of time and respect for Martin O’Neill and I think anybody who goes to the club he is in charge of is very lucky.”
Aston Villa manager O’Neill said: “I think Ashley is an exciting player and has got a great touch, great control, plus a wee bit of pace, I am excited with his signing for us.
"I have no doubt at all he is good enough"
"He is only a young fellow and it will be hard to put him under the sort of pressure where he is having to justify himself from minute one, but overall I have no doubt at all he is good enough."
Then an England Under-21 international, Young said: "This is an exciting opportunity and I can’t wait to get started.
"There's a good set of boys here and I just want to get down to work now."
Young made his Villa debut in a 3-1 defeat at Newcastle United – scoring his side’s goal.
Over the next four-and-a-half years he made 157 appearances for the club in the Barclays Premier League and scored 30 goals, as Villa secured three consecutive sixth place finishes during his time there.
He also broke into the England team while at Villa and has gone on to win 30 caps, with four of them coming in the Euro 2012 finals.
In June 2011, he joined Manchester United and in 2012/13 he won the Barclays Premier League title.