Former Bournemouth skipper first signing for Di Matteo

London (AFP) – Former Bournemouth captain Tommy Elphick became Aston Villa manager Roberto di Matteo’s first signing, the relegated Premier League side announced on Monday.

The 28-year-old defender — who skippered ‘The Cherries’ to promotion to the Championship and then their historic elevation to the Premier League in the 2014/15 campaign — cut short his honeymoon to return for a medical prior to signing a three year contract with Villa.

The transfer fee was not revealed.

Elphick, who fell down the Bournemouth pecking order in their Premier League campaign last season, appearing just 12 times, is the first new face at the Villa since Chinese businessman Tony Xia’s takeover from American Randy Lerner for a reported $87 million (77.6 million euros) was confirmed last week.   

“I’m really pleased to bring Tommy to the football Club,” di Matteo told the club website. 

“He is a fantastic player and also a fantastic character, which is very important. 

“He knows what is required to win promotion to the Premier League from the Championship and that experience will be invaluable.”

Di Matteo, who plans an overhaul of the squad after the side won only three times in the league last term, has been promised £30-40 million, although since the takevover he has been silent about the actual funds available.

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