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Friday, 12 January, 2001, 18:03 GMT
Villa to complete Angel deal
John Gregory
John Gregory has likened Angel to Gary Lineker
Aston Villa have confirmed that Juan Pablo Angel is to sign for the club in a 9.5m deal.

The Colombian international's on-off transfer from Argentine club River Plate is on the verge of completion and Angel will now travel to England for a medical and to complete formalities.

According to Villa, River Plate and its agents have agreed to a method of payment in accordance with the Fifa regulations that were initially contravened.

It has undoubtedly been a difficult week, but ultimately we all feel it has been worth it
  Doug Ellis
Villa chairman Doug Ellis said: "We are delighted to have secured Angel during a turbulent week of both rumour and pure conjecture.

"For the last seven days we have all worked towards a positive conclusion but following Fifa's initial intervention, we had to be 100% certain the deal would not again collapse before making this announcement.

"The manager and board members have all worked tirelessly to resurrect the transfer. It has undoubtedly been a difficult week, but ultimately we all feel it has been worth it.

"It is true to say there was a period this week when the problems appeared insurmountable and we therefore made an enquiry regarding the availability of Liverpool striker Robbie Fowler.

"However, on receipt of assurances concerning the signing of Juan Pablo Angel, we immediately curtailed our interest to secure our number one target."

The deal was also confirmed by River Plate.

"The deal is completely sealed and was signed this morning," River Plate president David Pintado said.

"He has a plane ticket for today at 1900 local (2200 GMT) but I don't know if he plans to fly today or tomorrow. That's up to him."

While Villa maintain that the fee remains a club record, River Plate report the fee agreed to be 8.45m.

Last week, the transfer appeared to be dead after Villa were told by the FA that the deal did not comply with Fifa regulations.

What I like about Angel is that he gets scrappy goals
  John Gregory
That was because Angel's agent, Gustavo Mascardi, owns half of the player's contract, and stood to get 50% of the fee paid by Villa.

Fifa insisted that it was strictly forbidden for an agent to own any part of a player.

Villa manager John Gregory is looking forward to Angel's arrival.

He said: "What I like about Angel is that he gets scrappy goals, tap-ins, ones from three yards out, something that we seldom manage.

"A lot of his goals are like that. He'll go to volley it and it will go half-way down his shin and bobble into the opposite corner of the net.

"They're Lineker-type goals. That's what I call them but they are priceless goals and we need someone scoring 20 goals a season."

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See also:

05 Jan 01 |  Aston Villa
Villa's Angel bites dust
05 Jan 01 |  Aston Villa
Villa insist Angel deal is on
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