Aston Villa have revealed that they have agreed a fee for one of Glasgow Rangers’ stand-out players who was part of the chase for four trophies last season.
The Villans have activated the £7.8 million release clause in defender Carlos Cuellar’s Ibrox contract, and he is now free to speak to the Midlands club, most probably to the dismay of many Gers fans. The news will also come as a blow just days after they crashed out of Europe altogether, having reached the UEFA Cup final last season.
Cuellar, who arrived for £2.5 million from La Liga side Osasuna just last summer, is eager to move on since the club’s failure to qualify for Europe so he can force his way into the Spanish national team, which was his main motivation for leaving Scotland. The 26-year-old spoke to Rangers official website:
My ambition has always been to play for my national team and I believe that playing in the biggest league in the world for Aston Villa will help me realise that
Cuellar made himself a fans favourite with the Ibrox crowd with his stellar performances last season and his decision to leave is not easy:
When I told [Rangers CEO] Martin Bain on Sunday that I wanted to leave, I did so with sadness.
The Rangers supporters have been fantastic to me, but I am young and want to play at the highest level and I hope they will always welcome me back. I want to thank them for everything.
Both sides can be happy with the Cuellar deal, as it represents a £5 million profit for Rangers and Villa get a solid, popular centre-back they needed to replace Juventus new-boy Olof Melberg.
With reports suggesting only the medical needs sorting before the deal is final, Cuellar will become Villa’s seventh summer signing. All the signings have been with the defence side of the game in mind: two goalkeepers (Brad Guzman, Brad Friedel), four defenders (Curtis Davies, Luke Young, Nicky Shorey and now Cuellar) and a defensive midfielder (Steve Sidwell). Martin O’Neill obviously wanted to shore up a leaky defence that conceded 18 more Premier League goals than their nearest top five rivals Everton. Villa also picked the ball out of the net 51 times comapred to champions Manchester United’s 22 goals conceded.
With these stats in mind, are Villa fans pleased that O’Neill has focused on this area, or would you still have liked some attacking signings to accompany the successful Ashley Young and John Carew?