Downing signs for Villa
Aston Villa have signed Middlesbrough and England winger Stewart Downing on a four-year deal, the Midlands club have confirmed. The fee is thought to be in the region of £12m.
Downing revealed his mind was made up on a move to Villa as soon as he met Martin O'Neill, and that the ambition of the manager was a massive pull as he completed a switch from Middlesbrough this afternoon.
He told AVTV: "I am really pleased to be joining Villa. It's a massive football club with good ambition.
"It's certainly been a summer of speculation for me but I have tried to switch off and get a good break after my injury.
"Saying that, when it became apparent that Villa were interested I was very excited. I wanted to come as soon as I met Martin O'Neill so I am delighted it's now sorted out.
"As soon as I spoke to the manager at the training ground, I wanted to play for Villa and I wanted to play for him. He has great ambition and wants to build a good squad to take the club forward. I want to be part of that.
"As an outsider looking in, it was obvious that Villa were a club on the up. You can see a chairman and manager who want to build great things. They have done that over the past few seasons, particularly by finishing sixth last time around, which was great.
"But once you get here and see the stadium, the training ground, the people behind the scenes and the manager with his ambition and hopes for the future, it's even better than you realised."
Downing also revealed his delight at stepping out at Villa Park in the coming years as a claret and blue troop.
He added: "I have fond memories of playing at Villa Park with Middlesbrough because we managed a few good results there. But I always enjoy playing there anyway.
"The atmosphere is always brilliant and Villa always put out a great team so it's always a test. I looked forward to going there and testing myself - it's fantastic that I'll now be playing for the home side."