Villa spend up big with central defender

Sports | REUTERS 18 Jul 2019

Newly promoted Aston Villa continued a close-season spending spree by signing center-back Bjorn Engels from French side Stade Reims.

The Premier League club paid Reims 7 million (HK$68 million) for 24-year-old Engels, taking outlays to nearly 100 million following promotion from the Championship after beating Derby County in the playoff final.

Engels follows fellow central defenders Ezri Konsa, Tyrone Mings and Kortney Hause to Villa, who have also signed winger Anwar El Ghazi, left-back Matt Targett, midfielder Jota and striker Wesley. Villa missed out on a return to the Premiership at the end of the 2017-18 season after losing 1-0 to Fulham in the playoff final, and then financial troubles surfaced. But then came a "significant" investment from co-owners Nassef Sawiris and Wes Edens.

Fulham, meanwhile, were relegated from the Premier League last season after being the first promoted club to spend over 100 million on players in a close season.

Villa open their Premier campaign at Tottenham on August 10.


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