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Thursday, 20 July, 2000, 15:29 GMT 16:29 UK
Alpay the Villain
Alpay in action at Euro 2000 against Italy
Aston Villa have signed Turkey international Alpay from Fenerbahce for 5.6m.

The 27-year-old defender is expected to sign a four-year deal at Villa after a move to Greek club Olympiakos collapsed.

Fehmi Alpay Ozalan made his international debut in 1995 and has been a regular ever since, appearing in all four matches at Euro 2000 before being sent off for punching Portuguese defender Fernando Couto in the quarter-finals.

Alpay, whose move to Birmingham depends upon him obtaining a work permit, said: "I am happy to find the opportunity to play in Europe.

"I am sad to leave Fenerbahce which I love so much. One day I'll return to win the championship with that team and end my career in Fenerbahce. I hope all the Fenerbahce fans understand me."


Gregory said: "He was mentioned in reports last season and we made a special effort to see him in the summer.

"We kept an eye on him and I saw all his games at Euro 2000. He's got a lot of good qualities."

We kept an eye on him and I saw all his games at Euro 2000. He's got a lot of good qualities
  John Gregory
Alpay is Villa's first big-money signing of the summer and could pave the way for centre-halves Gareth Southgate and Ugo Ehiogu to leave the club after both players expressed their desire to move on.

Villa turned down Manchester City's bid for 27-year-old Ehiogu.

City offered 6m for the powerful defender but Villa manager John Gregory said: "The bid does not match our valuation and has been rejected."

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Izzet stays a Fox
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