Villa signing had ‘England pact’

By Graham Hill

NEW Villa signing Bjorn Engels had an arrangement with French club Reims that he would be allowed to sign for an English club if one showed serious interest him.

And it seems as though the fact that Engels’ wife is from Liverpool has played a big part in that pact.

On Saturday morning, French publication L’Equipe said that Engels would join Villa ‘in the coming hours’.

A deal worth around £9million was agreed last week and a player who Villa boss Dean Smith has been keen on since his days as Brentford manager looks to be on his way.

The Sport Witness site has reported that Reims made a statement regarding Engels’ move to Villa Park.

It read: “We had a strong deal between us with Björn, whose wife is from Liverpool. He had told us of his deep desire to play one day across the Channel.

“So we agreed that, if and only if a Premier League club made a substantial bid at the end of their first season, we would let them go. We are not happy to lose such a player but we only kept our promise.’

And it seems as though Engels has always had ambitions to play in England.

But critics in Belgium often questioned this when he was playing for Bruges.

The fact that he then moved to Greek side Olympiacos and had a difficult spell there, only increased those doubts.

But Engels now has his move to England thanks to Smith.

The player will now be one of a group of players at Villa to prove they are ready to make that leap.

Engels left for Birmingham on Friday and was due for a medical and to complete the signing.

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