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Friday, 26 July, 2002, 13:05 GMT 14:05 UK
Villa seal De la Cruz signing
Ecuador defender Ulises de la Cruz
De la Cruz is ready for a Premiership challenge
Aston Villa have completed the signing of Hibs defender Ulises de la Cruz.

The Ecuador international is now awaiting a work permit, but the club do not anticipate any problem given that De la Cruz has fulfilled the criteria regarding international appearances.

The fee involved is thought to be in the region of 1.5m.

Villa boss Graham Taylor was clearly delighted at having made the player his fourth summer signing.

"He's played as a wing-back for Hibs, but I think he's a more attacking player, who can play wide right," Taylor told the Villa website.

"He has a good turn of pace and he's very strong.

"He's an excellent crosser of the ball and what's more he can get crosses in with both feet."

De la Cruz successfully completed a medical on Friday morning and has agreed personal terms with Villa.

His debut is likely to come against De Graafschap next weekend.

He is ineligible to play in this weekend's Intertoto Cup tie against FC Zurich, but he will be introduced to the Villa fans at that game.

Hibernian paid a club record transfer fee of 700,000 to bring De la Cruz to Scotland last summer.

Despite a number of excellent attacking displays down the right flank, the Ecuador star came in for some criticism for his defensive displays.

But he impressed during his country's appearance at this summer's World Cup finals and looks to have won a move to the English Premiership.

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