Aston Villa complete Sylla swoop
New Aston Villa signing Yacouba Sylla says he is looking forward to being part of a "dynamic and exciting young team" after completing his move from Clermont Foot.
Sylla, 22, put pen to paper on a three-and-a-half year deal after passing a medical on Thursday and is awaiting international clearance to ensure he can make his debut against Everton on Saturday.
"I’m very excited about the prospect of playing for Aston Villa and also to be playing in the Premier League," Sylla said. "I have watched some games here on TV back in France and a player such as Cheick Tiote, who is strong and forceful, I admire his style of playing.
"The manager is building a dynamic and exciting young team here and there are players also with a lot of experience. Obviously, I know plenty about Charles N’Zogbia, with him being French as well, and it will be great to play alongside him.
"I know some of the other players here, too. Christian Benteke has had an extraordinary season so far. For such a young player to have made his name in the Premier League already shows there is real quality here at the club and I’m excited by this.
“I can’t wait to fight for the club and help the club to climb the table. I’m thrilled to be part of this. The club has made me feel very welcome already. The facilities at the training ground are first-class and I will be very proud when I put on the shirt and play my first game. I am looking forward to this very much.”
The midfielder has featured for the France Under-21s and was linked with other Premier League clubs, as well as sides in Ligue 1, Serie A and the Bundesliga, with Villa boss Paul Lambert delighted to secure his capture.
"Yacouba will add a bit of steel into the midfield which will help the other lads in there," Lambert said. "Even though he’s still a young guy, there were a few teams interested and closely monitoring him. I think he’ll do well. Hopefully, he adapts quickly and gives us something to complement the guys around him. Physically, he’s strong for it and, although he’ll be new to it, he’s raring to go."
Villa have also announced the signing of San Jose Earthquakes midfielder Simon Dawkins on a loan deal until the end of the season.
Dawkins, 25, scored 14 goals in 53 appearances for the MLS side and his hoping to secure a permanent move to the Premier League club.
" I'm really focused on what I need to do for the rest of this season and am looking forward to training with my new team-mates," Dawkins said, according to the Birmingham Mail. "I never lost my belief and everything I've been through has made me stronger mentally as a player and as a person."