By Brian Doogan
Yacouba Sylla is thrilled to be part of the "dynamic and exciting young team" being built by Paul Lambert and he is determined to add some steel in the Villa midfield having completed a move from French club Clermont Foot this afternoon.
The 22-year-old midfield player has featured for the France U21 team and attracted interest not only from other Premier League clubs but also French Ligue 1, Serie A and Bundesliga teams before the Villa manager secured his transfer on deadline day.
Sylla passed a medical this morning and agreed a three-and-a-half year contract.
His registration was lodged with the Premier League this afternoon ahead of international clearance, which means he will be eligible to play against Everton on Saturday at Goodison Park.
"I'm very excited about the prospect of playing for Aston Villa and also to be playing in the Premier League," said Sylla, whose squad number will be 18.
"I have watched some games here on TV back in France and a player such as Cheick Tiote, who is strong and forceful, I admire his style of playing.
"The manager is building a dynamic and exciting young team here and there are players also with a lot of experience. Obviously, I know plenty about Charles N'Zogbia, with him being French as well, and it will be great to play alongside him.
"I know some of the other players here, too. Christian Benteke has had an extraordinary season so far. For such a young player to have made his name in the Premier League already shows there is real quality here at the Club and I'm excited by this.
"I can't wait to fight for the Club and help the Club to climb the table. My first task will be to integrate myself with my new team-mates and to help those around me to grow and to build with them a strong team. I'm thrilled to be part of this.
"Playing at Villa Park will be unbelievable. It is a huge stadium with a great history and the crowd will be incredible. You dream about this when you become a footballer.
"I can hopefully help the team when we're defending against our opposition and to get the ball moving forward. I know the fans are very passionate and it will be great to get started as soon as possible.
"The Club has made me feel very welcome already. The facilities at the training ground are first-class and I will be very proud when I put on the shirt and play my first game. I am looking forward to this very much."
Sylla signed for Clermont in 2009 having played for a number of lower league sides in northern France, including Patrice Evra's former club, CSF Bretigny.
He became a regular starter during the 2010-11 season and was called up by France U21sby the end of that season.
A one-match suspension aside, he has played in every game for Clermont this season.
"Yacouba will add a bit of steel into the midfield which will help the other lads in there," said Villa boss Lambert.
"Even though he's still a young guy, there were a few teams interested and closely monitoring him. I think he'll do well. Hopefully, he adapts quickly and gives us something to complement the guys around him.
"Physically, he's strong for it and, although he'll be new to it, he's raring to go."
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