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Sidwell completes Aston Villa transfer

  • Story Highlights
  • Aston Villa complete the signing of Chelsea midfielder Steve Sidwell for £5m
  • The 25-year-old Sidwell had struggled to win regular place in the Chelsea side
  • Sidwell is set to be a replacement for Gareth Barry, who is bound for Liverpool
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(CNN) -- England Under-21 midfielder Steve Sidwell has finally completed his £5 million ($9.87m) transfer from Chelsea to Aston Villa.

Sidwell has signed a three-year contract with Aston Villa after failing to make his mark at Chelsea last season.

The 25-year-old has signed a three-year contract and will immediately link-up with his new team-mates for a pre-season tour of Switzerland.

"I am absolutely delighted to join. I am over the moon. It's taken a while but now it's done I am excited and looking forward to meeting my new team-mates and getting on the pitch and playing football," said Sidwell.

"There's been a lot of speculation and rumor about the deal and it has played on my mind a little but I've been professional and kept my head down," he added.

Sidwell endured a frustrating time at Chelsea last season after joining on a free from Reading. He made just 25 appearances, 12 as substitute, as he struggled to break into a high-quality midfield.

Now he is looking forward to getting back to featuring on a regular basis. "I am here now and can't wait to put a Villa shirt on and play for the fans. For me personally, it's about getting back and playing," he said.

"I have had a year of not playing as much as I would have liked so to get out on the pitch is the first aim. It's straight down to work really. I have done some pre-season with Chelsea but the hard work starts now."

Sidwell's arrival also increases the likelihood of club captain Gareth Barry leaving, although the speed of that deal will depend on how quickly manager Martin O'Neill and Liverpool counterpart Rafael Benitez can reach a compromise after weeks of haggling over a fee for the England international.

Barry is unlikely to play for Villa again, having been asked not to attend pre-season training and fined two weeks' wages for comments made about O'Neill not bothering to speak to him about his future.

O'Neill is holding out for $35 million for the midfielder, a price Benitez is reluctant to pay in a straight cash deal. The compromise may be a cash-plus-player offer -- it has already been suggested right-back Steve Finnan has been singled out as a potential makeweight -- and it may be O'Neill has to back down from his position rather than keep an unhappy player and risk further disruption in the dressing room.

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