Villa give Carbone chance to prove himself

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The Independent Football

Aston Villa have signed Benito Carbone from Sheffield Wednesday, initially on a contract that runs until the end of June next year. However, both Villa's manager, John Gregory, and the Italian striker have hinted that they could eventually agree a longer-term deal.

Aston Villa have signed Benito Carbone from Sheffield Wednesday, initially on a contract that runs until the end of June next year. However, both Villa's manager, John Gregory, and the Italian striker have hinted that they could eventually agree a longer-term deal.

Villa have paid a nominal fee for the 28-year-old former Internazionale player and further payments will be made when Carbone has made a set number of appearances for the club. Carbone is likely to make his debut for Villa at home to Wimbledon on Saturday.

Gregory said: "We have a chance to impress Benito and equally he has the same chance to impress us. I have said in the past that we have been lacking a bit of guile in the final third of the pitch and hopefully Benito's arrival can help us to overcome this. He might not be the tallest of players, but he more than makes up for that with his skill."

"Signing him initially on this basis was the best option, but, if things go well over the next few months, we could be sitting down to discuss his future before the end of the season.

"Benito may have had a few problems off the pitch at Sheffield Wednesday, but he is always fully committed when he plays and that is how I judge all of my players. He will be as committed as the rest of the team."

Gregory had been chasing Carbone for the last few weeks. But the deal appeared to have collapsed earlier this month when the level of Carbone's personal terms became apparent, but the Italian was keen to push through a deal and his advisors were able to come to an agreement with Villa.

Having initially hinted that he would return to Italy at the end of the season, Carbone has now said that he could well stay at Villa Park in the long term. He said: "This is a big, big opportunity for me and I want to try and impress the manager and the Villa supporters.

"I have not played very much of late and I know that I need to play games. But I am ready to do that. It is now up to the manager whether I start on Saturday or not."

The Italian looks likely to be pushed straight into attack for the visit of Wimbledon in the Premiership on Saturday. Villa do have problems up front as both Julian Joachim and Darius Vassell are struggling with injury problems and seem unlikely to be fit in time for the weekend.

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