Aston Villa have announced the surprise signing of Southampton forward Danny Ings as they are set to accept Manchester City’s £100 million offer for their captain Jack Grealish.
The 29-year-old Englishman had one year left in his contract with the Saints. He has signed a three-year contract with Villa for an undisclosed transfer fee believed to be around £30 million.
Ings has scored 46 goals in his 100 appearances for Southampton since joining the club in the summer of 2018 from Premier League giants Liverpool, initially on loan.
He has also been capped three times by The Three Lions, scoring one goal in a friendly match against Wales last October.
Villa boss Dean Smith was full of praise for the new signing describing him as an outstanding Premier League footballer who has scored goals wherever he has played.
“Danny is an outstanding Premier League footballer who has scored goals wherever he has played.
“He is also a top professional with a great character who will be a leader in our squad and a role model for our rapidly developing young Academy players who are now in and around the first team.
“I am delighted to welcome Danny to our great Club.”
Ings joins Leon Bailey, Emi Buendia and Ashley Young in moving to Villa Park this summer.
Bailey joins the club from Bundesliga side Bayer Leverkusen and he had this to say:
“For me, it’s a great club with a big history and it’s the right step for me. I’m excited to get started,” he told the club website.
“It’s always been somewhere that I’ve wanted to play. I feel like now is the right time and I’m excited about it.
“Hopefully I can do what I do best and have a great season in the Premier League.”
When asked to tell Villa fans what type of player he is, Bailey said:
“I like to give assists and I like to score, that’s always been me,” he added. “I like to score and be the one who gives the pass in a decisive moment and not be selfish.
The top five richest clubs in the Premier League
Newcastle United fans celebrated when Mike Ashley’s 14-year ownership of the English club came to an end.
There is no doubt that Newcastle is currently the richest club in England after it was purchased by the Saudi-backed consortium for £305m.
Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) purchased 80% of the club shares, while the Reuben Brothers and Amanda Staveley remained with 10% each.
We take a look at the top five richest clubs in the Premier League
1. Newcastle-Saudi Public Investment Fund (£320bn)
Thanks to the massive wealth of the PIF, the Magpies expect key investments, especially in players, to make the club competitive in Europe.
Newcastle United have already started to enjoy the fruits of the new ownership as they have already signed two players, namely Kieran Trippier and Chris Wood.
The PIF is chaired by Mohammed Salman, the Saudi crown prince. He is also the second most important person in Saudi Arabia, after the king. He not only serves as the country’s deputy prime minister but also the Minister of Defence.
2. Manchester City-Sheikh Mansour (£22.9bn)
Mansour is the deputy prime minister of the United Arab Emirates and one of the country’s many team owners.
The Magpies have now joined the likes of Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain, but the two most high-profile examples have been Manchester City and PSG.
The sheikh owns an interest in Virgin Galactic and is the chairman of the International Petroleum Investment Company.
He bought Manchester City in 2008 when they were a mid-table team, and with his billions, he has turned them into one of the best teams in the world.
His fortune has allowed him to hire Pep Guardiola and a slew of other world-class players, allowing City to become Manchester’s most successful club in the last decade.
As a result, Mansour has hired Khaldoon Al Mubarak to manage the club on a daily basis, while his City Football Group continues to buy clubs all around the world.
3. Chelsea – Roman Abramovich (£9.6b)
In a rumored 15-minute conversation, football’s first high-profile billionaire, purchased Chelsea from Ken Bates in 2003.
Following the hiring of Jose Mourinho the following year, Chelsea became the dominant team in the Premier League thanks to the Russian’s riches.
The Blues have won silverware on a consistent basis, winning five league titles and the Champions League twice.
Chelsea FC cost Abramovich £140 million of his billions earned from the sale of previously Russian state-owned businesses he purchased after the Soviet Union fell apart.
4. Arsenal – Stan Kroenke (£6.35bn)
Arsenal’s divisive owner is seldom seen at the Emirates and has a tense rapport with the supporters.
Arsenal’s fortunes have deteriorated throughout his tenure, despite the fact that the team had previously won Premier League titles.
In 1974, Kroenke married Ann Walton, a Walmart heiress, and in 1983, he created the Kroenke Group, a real estate development corporation.
The American, who owns the NFL’s Los Angeles Rams and the NBA’s Denver Nuggets, originally invested in Arsenal in 2007 before acquiring a full stake in the club four years later.
5. Aston Villa – Nassef Sawiris (£5.3bn)
In July 2018, the Egyptian took over as owner from Tony Xia, and saw Villa gain promotion to the Premier League within a year.
Sawiris, who comes from one of Egypt’s wealthiest families, purchased a 55% controlling stake in the club.
His fortune comes from owning a slew of construction, engineering, and construction firms.
With nearly £200 million spent over the past two summers, Dean Smith has consolidated the Midlands team as a top-flight outfit once again.
Steven Gerrard warns players: “Don’t feel sorry for yourselves”
Villa’s players have been urged by Steven Gerrard not to feel sorry for themselves as they prepare to face Man United.
On Saturday, Villa play the Red Devils in an attempt to avenge their FA Cup loss at Old Trafford on Monday.
The controversial call to reject Danny Ings’ second-half equalizer as United escaped with a 1-0 victory dominated the post-match discussion.
Steven Gerrard, on the other hand, refused to blame the referees, focusing instead on Villa’s failing to take their chances.
He said: “It is quite unique you get this kind of opportunity. We need to not feel sorry for ourselves, we showed over 90 minutes on Monday we are more than a match for the team we faced.
“We need to stick together, first and foremost. We have to recover well.
“The players feel they were good enough to win the game. Over 90 minutes I felt we were at minimum good enough to take it to extra time.
“The reality is they scored a goal, which was sloppy on our behalf, and we weren’t ruthless enough when our chances came along. It is quite clear what we need to iron out between now and the weekend.”
Villa are aiming for their first league double against United since 1954, as well as their first Premier League win at home versus United since 1995.
Aston Villa in advanced talks for fantastic talent
Aston Villa are said to be close to signing Dundee United player Kerr Smith, with Steven Gerrard’s side having made an offer.
Discussions between the two teams are nearing a conclusion, according to the Daily Mail, with another story from the same source claiming that Villa made an £800,000 proposal for Smith recently.
The 17-year-old is considered one of the region’s most promising young players. According to the source, Gerrard has great expectations for Smith if he joins Aston Villa.
Villa manager Gerrard has moved quickly to improve his team in January, with Phillippe Coutinho joining on loan and Lucas Digne’s transfer supposedly nearing completion.
These two experienced additions will significantly boost Villa’s first team, with Smith proving to be a long-term investment. Villa has one of the strongest youth systems in England, and the Scotsman would be a good fit for the U-23s for the rest of the campaign.
Smith, who was previously described as “fantastic” by Dundee defender Mark Connolly, appears to be a bargain for Villa. And it could turn out to be a wise investment for the Midlands club in the long run.
Premier League teams have a horrible reputation when it comes to how they treat young players. Villa, on the other hand, may be happy of their achievements, providing Smith with an excellent platform to thrive under Gerrard.
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