First Signing: Tommy Elphick transfer signals a new era at Aston Villa.

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Roberto Di Matteo’s first signing is Bournemouth captain Tommy Elphick.

As ‘The Cherries’ most successful club captain, he lead their side to the Premier League, from League One, encompassing just shy of 150 appearances in total.

Elphick joins with high acclaim.  Respected by Bournemouth fans, who took to Twitter in their droves to both thank him and wish him well.  One can’t imagine the same out-pouring of thanks when Villa’s current defensive crop are inevitably moved on.

At 28, a £3.25m purchase looks like intelligent business.

Villa have been plagued by defensive frailties for years.  Indeed, our inability to add proven solidity has repeatedly been our undoing.

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Whilst the hope was that players such as Clark would learn from their mistakes, there has also been unprecedented failure to buy better at centre half.

The alarming decision to acquire Jolean Lescott when clearly past his best, was compounded by adding Micah Richards experimentally in partnership.  Clark featured when Richards had lost all faith with youngster Kevin Toner looking the most competent.

Jores Okore, injury plagued and inconsistent, has seen his worth drop significantly amidst defensive disarray and refusing a place on the subs bench.  A questionable attitude which saw him training with the academy in the final weeks of the season.

Whilst quality, or the absence of it certainly played a part in our relegation season, attitude shouldn’t be overlooked.

Villa has too many questionable attitudes lingering around Bodymoor Heath.

Players like Tommy Elphick don’t perhaps carry the ‘name’ we might be accustomed to, but, where did that get us?

We need more grit, determination and work ethic than anything else right now. 

Bournemouth’s Chairman remarked:

“He [Elphick] has been a model professional throughout his time here and will now leave behind the legacy of being this club’s most successful captain.”  

Model professional?  Yes please.

If there is an element of concern it is an apparent lack of pace and that most of last season was spent injured.  However, Elphick cannot be slower than Lescott or injured longer than Senderos.  Consider it progress.

Elphick joins a side that will certainly be transitional.  It might be a full season before anything resembling a promotion challenge can even be feasible.  The job is not going to be straightforward, particularly given that we may need to rely upon a great number of failures within the squad.

It is a solid, rationale start to our recruitment.  Long may it continue.

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