Jota happy to cross the city divide

By Graham Hill

JOTA admitted he is well aware he is part of an exclusive club of players that have moved from Blues across the city to Villa.

Villa have completed the £4million signing of the Spanish winner – with Gary Gardner going in the other direction after being on loan at St Andrew’s.

And while Jota was happy to be reunited with his former manager at Brentford, Dean Smith, he knows manner of his transfer is a path not taken very often.

This is the first time in 36 years that the two clubs have done direct transfer business with each other – that was when Alan Curbishley signed for Villa in 1983.

Jota has stepped up to the Premier League to play for a manager who knows him inside out.

But he also realises the intense rivalry between Blues and Villa.

Jota told the club’s official TV channel: “Everybody knows Villa is a very big club. You can see that.

“Obviously, playing across the city we had the big derby games.

“There was a good ambience, with the supporters pushing the team.

“Now I’m very happy to come and play for this big club.”

As well as Smith, Jota is familiar with Villa’s sporting director Suso from his time playing for Eibar in Spain.

Jota added: “When the manager told me about this I knew he liked me a lot.

“I know the way he likes to play, the way he likes his football. He knows I like to play with quality.

“I was happy to be with him again, at Brentford it was a good time for us.

“There could be another good time again here again with this staff.

“I’m looking forwards to the start of next season, it’s been a long week with medicals.

“Now I think I’m in good club for playing in the Premier League, one of the best clubs in England, I’m very happy.”

Villa boss Smith added: “I worked with Jota at Brentford. He’s a superb, talented player and Birmingham signed him as their record transfer. I’m really happy to have him back working with us. He’s got great ability, great balance and a great eye for both goals and assists.”

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