Sidwell seals Villa switch

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Midfielder Steve Sidwell has completed his £5million move from Chelsea to Aston Villa.

The 25-year-old has agreed a three-year deal and will immediately link up with his new team-mates for a pre-season tour of Switzerland.

His arrival also increases the likelihood of club captain Gareth Barry leaving, although the speed of that deal will depend on how quickly manager Martin O'Neill and Liverpool counterpart Rafael Benitez can reach a compromise after weeks of haggling over a fee for the England international.

"I am absolutely delighted to join. I am over the moon. It's taken a while but now it's done I am excited and looking forward to meeting my new team-mates and getting on the pitch and playing football," Sidwell told the club's website,

"There's been a lot of speculation and rumour about the deal and it has played on my mind a little but I've been professional and kept my head down."

Sidwell endured a frustrating time at Chelsea last season after joining on a free from Reading.

He made just 25 appearances, 12 as substitute, as he struggled to break into a high-quality midfield.

Now he is looking forward to getting back to featuring on a regular basis.

"I am here now and can't wait to put a Villa shirt on and play for the fans. For me personally, it's about getting back and playing," he said.

"I have had a year of not playing as much as I would have liked so to get out on the pitch is the first aim.

"It's straight down to work really. I have already done some pre-season with Chelsea but the hard work starts now.

"I can't wait to get out on the training field and meet my new team-mates. I have heard they are a good bunch of lads.

"I am sure I will settle in fine and I'm sure the players will be fine with me."