Valencia striker David Villa has ended speculation over his future by signing a new long-term contract with his La Liga club.
The 26-year-old, who has been strongly linked with a move to Spanish champions Real Madrid and was also believed to have interested clubs in the Premier League, put pen to paper on a six-year deal yesterday.
Valencia president Vicente Soriano said: "David Villa and Valencia will remain together for many years. The best striker in Europe is staying at Valencia."
Villa caught the eye at the Euro 2008 championships, scoring a hat-trick in Spain's opening-game victory over Russia as well as the winner against Sweden to finish as the competition's leading scorer.
He said yesterday: "It is a very happy day for me. In the last month and a half lots of things have happened around me that I have not experienced before.
"I want to thank Valencia for this gesture. I am very grateful to this club for what they have given me and I hope to continue to give good performances."
Villa's new contract follows soon after team-mate David Silva signed an improved five-year deal with Valencia, and fulfils the club's ambition of keeping the two Spain internationals at the Mestalla.
Grella becomes Ince's fifth recruit
Australia international Vince Grella has joined Blackburn Rovers on a four-year contract, becoming manager Paul Ince's fifth signing. The 28-year-old joins Rovers – and Socceroos team-mate Brett Emerton – for an undisclosed fee from Italian side Torino after the deal was confirmed by Blackburn's official website.
The midfielder, who had been linked to Fulham earlier this summer, joins goalkeeper Paul Robinson, Julio Santa Cruz and loan pair Danny Simpson and Carlos Villanueva in arriving at Ewood Park since Ince's arrival. Grella played for Canberra and Carlton in the A-League before moving to Europe playing for Torino, Palma and also Empoli in Serie A.
Keane hails arrival of Ferdinand 'quality'
Sunderland have completed the signing of the West Ham United defender Anton Ferdinand. The England Under-21 centre-back joins the Wearside club for an undisclosed fee on a four-year deal. The Black Cats' manager, Roy Keane, said: "We needed to strengthen our defence and Anton is a great signing. He'll bring quality and competition for places. Hopefully we can take him to another level here."
What the fans are saying
I've previously reserved judgment on Gary Megson, but I'm convinced now that he doesn't know what he's doing. He has spent more money than any other Bolton manager in history and we don't look any better than at this time last season.
Warthog – the-wanderer.co.uk
Good riddance Dimi
[Dimitar] Berbatov can go now and I will be glad to see the back of him. [Roman] Pavlyuchenko is a top-drawer signing; for not even half of what Berbatov will be sold for. Good business if you ask me.
Owen01 – tottenhamhotspurs.tv
*THE FERD DEGREE
My only worry with Anton [Ferdinand] would be his off-field antics. [I'm] not convinced him and Keano would be a marriage made in heaven.
Grim72 – safcworld.co.uk
Yesterday's completed moves:
Chris Armstrong (Sheffield United) to Reading; £500,000
Anton Ferdinand (West Ham United) to Sunderland; Undisclosed
Dominic Green (Dagenham & Redbridge) to Peterborough; Undisclosed
Lee Young-Pyo (Tottenham Hotspur) to Borussia Dortmund; Undisclosed
Andy Nicholas (unattached) to Rotherham United; Signed
Curtis Weston (unattached) to Gillingham; Signed
Tomas Pekhart (Tottenham Hotspur) to Southampton; Loan
Philippe Senderos (Arsenal) to Milan; Loan