Di Matteo announces himself at Aston Villa with two new buys


When Chinese businessman Tony Xia took over at Aston Villa back in May, he promised to invest “between £30m and £40m ” on players for the upcoming season.

And it seems the owner is sticking to his word as two new signings for the Villans appear imminent.

Hellas Verona goalkeeper Pierluigi Gollini and 21-year old Reading midfielder Aaron Tshibola are the latest players heading to Villa Park – subject to medicals – while ex-Bournemouth captain Tommy Elphick signed last month.

Representing Hellas Verona on 26 occasions last season, 21-year old Gollini was perhaps one of the only bright sparks in a season ending in relegation for the Italian outfit, while Tshibola will be keen to add to his 12 Championship appearances for the Royals last campaign.

Claret and blue fans across the Midlands will be hoping ex-Bournemouth captain Elphick’s experience at this level can help mount a challenge for the Championship title.

New Villa boss Roberto di Matteo won’t need long to settle in the Midlands, having managed local rivals West Brom between 2009-11.

And he looks set for a busy summer of in-comings and outgoings.

Fans of the former European Cup winners have made it clear they want a mass exodus this summer, following several off-the-pitch incidents last year surrounding their bigger names.

And Di Matteo and co. will have to act soon if they are to satisfy supporters, given that their opening fixture away to Sheffield Wednesday is less than a month away.

While Rafa Benitez and Newcastle are strong favourites for the title, Di Matteo’s experience in this league makes the 9/4 for Villa to gain promotion appealing for punters.

The Champions League-winning boss guided Villa’s local rivals West Brom to a second-placed finish behind – as coincidence would have it – Newcastle in the 2009-10 season.

Though Benitez boasts the glossier CV, the second tier of English football is a million miles away from the glitz and the glamour of the Galactico’s, where the Spaniard spent last summer.

And should Benitez struggle with the style of the Championship, Villa’s 8/1 for the league title could cost us a few quid.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.



Alex Apati

Having graduated from Birmingham City University with a degree in Creative Writing with English, Alex joined the News team following a three year stint working for Ladbrokes behind the counter. When he's not watching darts, he's throwing them. Failing that you'll find him YouTubeing Thierry Henry's greatest Arsenal goals.