It has been confirmed that American midfielder Michael Bradley, son of national team coach Bob, has signed for Villa on loan from Borussia Monchengladbach until the end of the season. It is believed that there is an option to buy the 23-year-old once the loan spell expires. In terms of players leaving the club, the signing of Michael Bradley has ensured Stephen Ireland a like-for-like move to Newcastle. Ireland will also be on loan until the end of the season but Villa manager Gerard Houllier said that the door remains open for the Irishman at Villa Park. Finally, Stephen Warnock’s mooted return to Liverpool has come to a stand still. It appears that the left back will have to endure a miserable few months at Villa after Gerard Houllier confirmed that he wanted to leave. The Frenchman has stated that he will show preference to those players who are 100% committed to the club even if they are not natural left backs, i.e. Clark, Baker, Walker and Luke Young. To read Gerard Houllier and Michael Bradley’s quotes upon joining Villa along with Newcastle manager Alan Pardew’s opinion on the capture of Stephen Ireland
Upon joining Aston Villa, Bradley stated:
“I am really excited to be joining Villa. I am proud and thrilled and can’t wait to get going now. Everyone can see that Villa is a big club, a fantastic club, with tradition and great supporters. Over the past few years Villa have made big strides and are trying to challenge at the very top of the Premier League. I am excited to be part of that and I am excited to be here.
“I want to play at the highest level and test myself in the biggest of games. Whether it’s on Saturday against Fulham at Villa Park or the week after, I am excited to be here and ready to get going.
“I try to be a guy in the centre of midfield who imposes himself on the game and can get forward and get goals. I try to win tackles and, defensively, make it really hard on the other team in the centre of the field. If you look at football nowadays every team needs guys who are in the centre of the field to win the battle in there. I will try to do everything I can to help the team be successful.
“Within the last week or so I heard that the manager [Gerard Houllier] was interested in bringing me here. From the moment I heard that, I was really excited and really just hoping that everything could get done.
“For me, the Premier League is the best league in the world. You watch a game in the Premier League and the speed of the game, the pace and the power all stand out. To have the opportunity to come here and test myself at the highest level, week in and week out, is incredible and to try to take the things I do as a player and make them count at the highest level – it’s a great challenge.”
Villa manager Gerard Houllier added:
“Michael is is a very hard-working midfielder who can score goals and is versatile. I saw him play four times at the World Cup in South Africa. I saw him once on TV but four times at the games for the national team, so in terms of scouting you cannot say the work has not been done.
“We’re pleased that he is here at Aston Villa.”
Newcastle boss Alan Pardew spoke upon Stephen Warnock joining on loan:
“Stephen has shown over the past few seasons that he’s a real top player so we’re really pleased to have got him until the end of the season.
“He can create chances for others and score goals himself, and we think he can be a big factor for us in the second part of this season.
“I think Stephen feels he can deliver more than he’s shown at Villa so far, so he’s got a point to prove and I believe we can reap the benefits of that.”
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