Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 20 September 2014

El Ahmadi excited by Villa chance

Karim El Ahmadi is relishing the opportunity of playing against the Premier League big guns

Feyenoord midfielder Karim El Ahmadi is relishing the prospect of joining Aston Villa and facing the Barclays Premier League big guns.

Villa are hopeful of completing a deal for El Ahmadi by the early part of next week after continuing negotiations. Press Association Sport understands officials from both clubs will meet in the next couple of days to finalise the deal of between £2.5million to £3million.

But El Ahmadi already has his heart set on making the move to the midlands club. He told the Express and Star newspaper: "Aston Villa is a top club. I will miss Feyenoord, but nobody will blame me for taking this step."

El Ahmadi added: "I am looking forward to playing against clubs like Chelsea, Manchester City, Manchester United and Arsenal."

New Villa boss Paul Lambert is keen to finalise El Ahmadi's arrival in time for when the players report back for pre-season training on July 5.

It would be his first signing since quitting Norwich to take charge of Villa earlier this month.

El Ahmadi spent four seasons with FC Twente before signing for Feyenoord in 2008 for 5million euros. He was born in Enschede but is of Moroccan descent and has played 10 times for Morocco.

El Ahmadi is known for his strong defensive qualities and Villa need to strengthen in midfield. They were short of experience in that department last season and in addition skipper Stiliyan Petrov is continuing to undergo treatment for acute leukaemia.

Meanwhile, Lambert's first match in charge of Villa will be the friendly at Burton on July 14.

Villa will then embark on a three-match tour of the United States and take on Philadelphia Union (July 18), Chicago Fire (July 21) and Portland Timbers (July 24).

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