Europe the aim as Baros takes up residence at Villa

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The Independent Football

Baros, who has signed a four-year contract which will keep him with the Midlands club until the summer of 2009, was also a target for the French club Lyon - managed by the former Liverpool manager Gérard Houllier - who offered £8m for his services.

But Baros, 23, made it clear he wanted to remain in England and now he wants to help Villa fulfil their potential as he prepared to make his debut in Saturday's home Premiership match with Blackburn.

Baros said: "It is never easy to leave Liverpool but it was made easier by the fact that Aston Villa is a big club. Villa is a club with history and a great stadium, and a strong squad, and they were also very straight with me. I think the manager, David O'Leary, was first interested in me two years ago so since then I have always followed their results and they have always just finished outside a European place.

"The team is good and I hope we can achieve Europe next season. I think we are capable of it. The manager said I am the type of player he was looking for and I hope I can repay his faith."

Baros will provide much needed competition for the out-of-sorts striker Juan Pablo Angel and the summer signing Kevin Phillips following the departure of Darius Vassell to Manchester City for £2m.

Baros was flanked by the Villa chairman, Doug Ellis, who is still recovering from heart surgery. The 81-year-old revealed he had knocked down Liverpool from their original asking price of £7.5m after talks with his counterpart, David Moores. Ellis said: "I suppose, in comparison to what Chelsea do, it is a very cheap deal. Liverpool had an £8m offer from Lyon and they were obviously anxious to take it.

"But Milan insisted on coming to Villa and Liverpool accepted my offer despite the fact they were asking for £7.5m. We are paying £6m and then Liverpool will receive another £500,000 if Milan plays 50 matches for us."

The Newcastle manager, Graeme Souness, has gone back to his summer wish-list after admitting his move to bring Albert Luque to the Premiership appears to be dead. The Magpies made what they believed to be their best possible offer for the 27-year-old Deportivo La Coruña striker yesterday, only to have it rejected, and have now revealed they will look elsewhere.

"We are still pursuing, we are still active in certain areas," said Souness. Asked directly about his targets, he replied: "You can ask, but I am not telling you.

"I understand that yesterday our final offer was rejected, so I think that one is finished, unfortunately. We have made a fantastic offer - there is a limit on how much you can spend on one player."