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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Feb 2, 2009

Wolves snap-up Hearts skipper Berra

Wolverhampton Wanderers have completed the signing of Hearts captain Christophe Berra on a four-and-a-half-year contract.

The Scotland defender, who turned 24 on Saturday, has joined the Coca-Cola Championship leaders for an undisclosed fee, reportedly in the region of £2.5m.

Wolves boss Mick McCarthy has been chasing Berra since last summer, when he had a reported £1.5m bid knocked back.

The player watched Saturday's 3-1 Championship win against Watford from the Molineux directors' box before undergoing a medical over the weekend and agreeing personal terms.

He could make his debut in tomorrow's home game against Norwich.

McCarthy was ''delighted'' to get his man after accusing Hearts of playing games over the deal last week.

He told his club's official website: ''I'm delighted because Christophe will be a really good addition to the squad.

''He's 6ft 3in, left footed with a bit of pace and a good defender who reads the ball well and is good in the air.

''He was the captain of Hearts and is an ambitious lad who's in the Scotland squad at the moment and will be driven in wanting to get to the Premier League.

''He'll fit in with the rest of the squad in wanting to push his career forward.''

Berra came through the Hearts youth system, making his debut in November 2003.

He was appointed club captain last season.

He has three Scotland caps, the first of which came in a friendly against the Czech Republic in May last year.

Wolves chief executive Jez Moxey, who was at the centre of negotiations for Berra, said: ''There was certainly a time when it didn't appear as if we would be successful in securing Christophe's signature, but we stuck to our guns and ultimately managed to complete the deal at the price we wanted,'' said Moxey.

''With all that finally done and dusted, now we can look forward to seeing him play.

''Christophe is a strong and physical defender who Mick has been keeping tabs on for some considerable time - indeed we initially tried to sign him last summer.

''Not only was he an influential captain up at Hearts, he is also a Scottish international, and having just turned 24 possesses the same sort of drive and ambition to succeed as the other members of our young and talented squad.''

The sale of Berra will help boost Hearts' finances - they are thought to be more than £30m in debt.

A club spokesperson told the Jambos' official website, www.heartsfc.co.uk: ''Christophe has been a very fine servant to Hearts and deserves this opportunity.

''He has been a fantastic player for Hearts and a very good captain.

''Christophe still young and it is clear he has a very exciting future. We wish him every success.''

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