Aston Villa have this evening confirmed the signing of Reims central-defender Bjorn Engels.
Villa seal Premier League return
Dean Smith’s Villa went head-to-head with Derby County in the Championship playoff final late in May.
The Villans booked their spot in the showpiece courtesy of a nail-biting penalty shootout victory over fierce rivals West Brom.
Frank Lampard’s Derby, meanwhile, advanced to the playoff finale courtesy of a stunning second-leg comeback win over Leeds United.
When all was said and done at Wembley, though, only one side could seal a return to English football’s top-tier, with an entertaining affair having eventually seen Villa emerge victorious.
Anwar El Ghazi’s stooping header put the Claret and Blue ahead on the stroke of half-time, before John McGinn capitalized on a poor piece of goalkeeping from Kelle Roos to double their advantage.
Martyn Waghorn did manage to pull one back for Derby 10 minutes from time to set up a tense close to proceedings, but, in the end, Villa held on.
If at first you don’t succeed, come back and try again…🏆
Aston Villa are promoted to the Premier League 12 months after play-off heartache
— Sky Sports Football (@SkyFootball) May 27, 2019
As such, Dean Smith’s side will be plying their trade back in the Premier League next season for the first time since 2015/16.
The board at Villa Park, though, evidently felt as though their squad required a major overhaul this summer, in order to compete with English football’s top clubs.
This was confirmed when the Villans released a hefty 8 players at the beginning of last month:
— Aston Villa (@AVFCOfficial) June 1, 2019
On the arrival front, meanwhile, to this point, all of Wesley, Jota, Ezri Konsa and Matt Targett have been added to Dean Smith’s squad, while the respective loans of Tyrone Mings, Anwar El Ghazi and Kortney Hause have been made permanent.
Villa’s spending spree, though, is showing no signs of letting up.
As confirmed a short time ago, the Premier League returnees have secured their 8th signing of the summer.
The latest player to have made the move to Villa Park is Stade Reims star Bjorn Engels.
24-year-old central-defender Engels played a crucial role in the backline of Reims last season, starting in 33 of Les Rouge et Blanc’s 38 Ligue 1 outings.
And the performances of the towering stopper, capped twice by Belgium at U21-level, evidently didn’t go unnoticed across Europe.
As such, despite having only seen his move to Reims from Olympiacos made permanent in March, Engels has tonight joined Aston Villa for an undisclosed fee, rumoured to be in the region of £7 million:
We are delighted to confirm the signing of @BjornEngels from Stade Reims. ✍️
— Aston Villa (@AVFCOfficial) July 16, 2019
Speaking on the back of Engels’ arrival being made official, Dean Smith had the following to say regarding his squad’s latest reinforcement:
‘Bjorn is a player that I’ve been watching for the past 18 months.’
‘We’re very happy to have secured his services and look forward to working with him.’