Aston Villa sign giant striker Nicklas Helenius from Aalborg - Premier League - Football - The Independent

Aston Villa sign giant striker Nicklas Helenius from Aalborg

The 6ft 5in frontman was the second-highest scorer in the Danish league last season

Aston Villa have completed the signing of striker Nicklas Helenius from Aalborg.

Villa announced last Tuesday they were in negotiations with the Danish outfit over Helenius, adding that they expected to secure his transfer, subject to a medical and personal terms, within 10 days.

And so it has proved, with it being confirmed today that the 22-year-old has put pen to paper on a three-year deal with the midlands club.

Denmark international Helenius told http://www.avfc.co.uk: "This is a big opportunity for me, a big dream to play in the Premier League with a club with the history of Aston Villa, and I'm very excited."

Helenius, who has two senior international caps, came through the youth ranks at Aalborg and the 6ft 5in frontman was the second-highest scorer in the Danish league last season with 16 goals.

"I learnt a lot over the past few seasons with (Aalborg coach and former Villa defender) Kent Nielsen as my manager," he said.

"He was a player here at Villa and, while I have always been a good finisher, he taught me to be more aggressive and determined when I don't have the ball.

"He showed me how to work hard and this will help me in this league.

"I thought that maybe when I was 28 or something I might eventually be able to move to the Premier League having made my mark in Danish football, but now I have my chance and I think this is the right club for me with all the other young players in the side who want to do well and achieve something together.

"I want to show the fans that I'm hungry for this and that I'm very proud to be a Villa player."

Villa boss Paul Lambert said: "Nicklas is a young lad but also a full international with a good goalscoring record in Denmark and he'll prove himself in the Premier League.

"The opportunity will be there for him, as it will be for the rest of the lads, and he has all the attributes to go and take it.

"He wants to go and make a name and a career for himself and he's made a good start at Aalborg. It's a case of continuing to work hard and building on that and I believe he can.

"He's a good player and the potential is there for him to grow into the team and grow with the team. He'll definitely be able to give the team a hand."

Villa, who finished 15th in the Premier League last season, are having a busy summer.

On Thursday, they confirmed they had signed another Denmark international, centre-back Jores Okore, from FC Nordsjaelland and Holland Under-21 midfielder Leandro Bacuna from FC Groningen on four and three-year contracts respectively.

And the previous week they announced they had agreed a deal to sign Bulgaria midfielder Aleksandar Tonev from Polish side Lech Poznan.

There have also been new contracts confirmed by Villa for forward Andreas Weimann, midfielder Daniel Johnson and defender Nathan Baker this month, while veteran centre-back Richard Dunne is among five players whose time with the club has been brought to an end.

Bacuna is delighted to be joining up at Villa Park with his compatriot Ron Vlaar, the central defender and club captain recruited from Feyenoord last summer who he says is a "hero in Holland".

Bacuna said: "In the Eredivisie I have played against him and he made a very good step to come to Aston Villa. Now I am following in his footsteps.

"He is a really nice guy and has the attitude to be a captain, and I think we can hang around together a lot.

"It is really nice for me to have someone who can help me settle in.

"He is a hero in Holland. He is doing well and he is a good defender."

Okore, meanwhile, has revealed he fell asleep during his Villa medical.

The Ivory Coast-born 20-year-old told Danish newspaper Ekstra Bladet: "I was getting into an MRI scanner and thinking it (the medical) had gone as well as possible.

"I wasn't nervous but hoped it would not take a long time. There I was wrong. I was in the scanner for two hours and had to be motionless.

"I was lying and listening to the radio, starting to think about how it will all go and how my new life in Birmingham will be - do I have to learn English with a British accent?

"After half an hour I fell asleep and I woke up an hour later. I was still lying in the scanner, and I thought 'this takes a long time'."

PA

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