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Last Updated: Friday, 6 August, 2004, 16:00 GMT 17:00 UK
Berson makes Villa switch
Mathieu Berson
Berson has stated he is keen to move to Villa Park
Aston Villa have completed the signing of midfielder Mathieu Berson for 1.6m from French club Nantes.

Berson, who agreed to a four-year deal, revealed he snubbed several European sides to join the Premiership outfit.

"It was very flattering that Aston Villa tried to sign me for so long," the 24-year-old told the club website.

"They were obviously keen and I knew that they wanted me here. There were clubs in Spain and Turkey, but I wanted to come here."

I feel this is the right move for me
Mathieu Berson
The Frenchman is Villa boss David O'Leary's fourth summer signing after he bought Martin Laursen and took Vaclav Drobny and Carlton Cole on loan.

Berson was also being tracked by Espanyol, Besiktas and Galatasaray but O'Leary's three-month pursuit of the former French under-21 international convinced him to go to England.

"I feel this is the right move for me," he added.

"There are a lot of quality players here and coach David O'Leary is someone I respect very much. He was a big factor in my decision to come."

O'Leary has already plundered the French league this summer for Czech defender Drobny on a season-long loan from Strasbourg.

That deal was completed on Monday after Drobny impressed O'Leary during a trial stint.

Drobny was delighted to learn that he has a future with Villa.

"The past few days were difficult for me because I did not know where I stood but now that it is done I feel far better," he said.

"I am very happy, the trial went well and I managed to convince the coach.

"I am sure that English football will suit me because this is a direct game. This is a new experience for me.

"I believe the squad is young enough to do well and it could be our strength this season."

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