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Wednesday, 27 March, 2002, 16:22 GMT
Crouch seals Villa move
Portsmouth striker Peter Crouch
Crouch has been a big hit at Portmouth
Aston Villa have won the race to sign Portsmouth striker Peter Crouch for an initial fee of 5m, rising to 6m if he is sold on..

The 6ft 7ins forward was given permission to talk to Villa by new Pompey boss Harry Redknapp.

QPR will receive a significant proportion of the transfer fee under the terms of the deal that saw the striker moved to Fratton Park for 1.5m at the start of the season.

We could not really stand in his way of joining such a big club in the Premiership
Portsmouth FC statement

Crouch has scored 19 goals this season and attracted interest from a host of Premiership sides.

He made his debut for David Platt's England Under-21s against Italy on Tuesday.

"I would have liked to have played for Pompey in the Premiership, but it now seems that I will be a year or so ahead of them," he told Portsmouth's website.

"But I will be very much looking forward to Pompey joining Villa there. I have really enjoyed playing for the club and the tremendous fans."

The 21-year-old will be available to make his Premiership debut for Villa in their match against Bolton at the Reebok Stadium on Saturday.

New recruits

"The club is, of course, extremely sad to be losing Peter but could not really stand in his way of joining such a big club in the Premiership, and with the prospect of European football on the horizon.

"The transfer monies are of course extremely timely given the imminent collapse of ITV Digital and the consequent loss of 3m per season to the club.

"The transfer will enable the club to press on with the rebuilding of the team in the close season, with five or six quality recruits promised by manager Harry Redknapp.

"We know every supporter will join with us in wishing Peter all the very best in his new career, which we will all follow with interest.

"He has been a credit to the club and himself and has endeared himself to everybody," Portsmouth said in a statement.

Peter Crouch
"I've come here to play and do well"
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