Villa swoop for Shorey

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The Independent Online

Aston Villa have confirmed the signing of left-back Nicky Shorey from Reading on a three-year deal with Middlesbrough defender Luke Young expected to join him imminently.

Shorey, 27, is Villa's fourth summer signing and joins former Royals team-mate Steve Sidwell and goalkeepers Brad Friedel and Brad Guzan.

Both Shorey and Young headed to the midlands earlier today after Villa agreed fees with Reading and Middlesbrough.

And after agreeing personal terms, the twice-capped England player has signed for Martin O'Neill's side.

Shorey had been expected to leave Reading since their relegation last season with a number of clubs reportedly interested in his services.

The Londoner will fill the void left by Wilfred Bouma, who dislocated his ankle recently, and provide long-term competition for places.

O'Neill has made no secret of his desire to bolster the Villa squad and add strength in depth.

The former Celtic boss told the club's website, www.avfc.co.uk: "Strengthening the squad has obviously been in our minds for quite some considerable time.

"We have agreed a fee with Reading for Nicky Shorey - a quality natural left-back who played for England 18 months ago.

"Obviously the injury to Freddie (Bouma) has left a gaping hole on the left. Freddie had a wonderful season for us last year and this wasn't necessarily a priority for us before the injury.

"But Nicky Shorey is more than a back-up. He's a quality player on the ball and is up for the challenge."

Middlesbrough earlier confirmed they had agreed a fee for some-time England right-back Young, 29.

Young has spent just a season at the Riverside Stadium following his move from Charlton but now looks set to start the season with Villa, who are desperate for cover on either side of their defence.

Young cost Boro a cut-price £2.5m after the Addicks' relegation last year but manager Gareth Southgate is likely to have negotiated a profit on a player who impressed in an inexperienced back four last year.

If the player can agree terms he will finally provide Villa with a first-choice right-back after the departure of last year's incumbent Olof Mellberg, who has since left the club for Juventus.

O'Neill added: "The right-back position caused us a few problems for us last season in terms of us not having a natural right-back.

"Now we've also agreed a fee with Middlesbrough for Luke Young. So hopefully there won't be any major problems and those two deals can go through.

"Luke is a natural right-back and played for England not so long ago. He did very well for Boro last season and this is a great opportunity for him."

Reading also declined to disclose the fee paid by Villa for Shorey.

Royals boss Steve Coppell said: "In many ways I am very sorry to see Nicky go, but he had made his intentions clear for almost a year. We wish him well at Villa."

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