Villa sign Karim El Ahmadi
Karim El Ahmadi admits he has realised "a dream" by joining Aston Villa and has set his sights on re-establishing them in the top half of the Barclays Premier League.
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The 27-year-old Morocco international has signed a three-year deal after completing his move from Feyenoord.
He played a leading role in Feyenoord securing a Champions League spot last season and is keen to make a big impression at Villa Park as new manager Paul Lambert's first signing.
8. Karim El Ahmadi
Midfielder El Ahmadi said: "This club should be competing in the top half of the table and I am looking forward to achieving that with the team.
"It was always a dream of mine to play in the Premier League. I think this is the best league in the world. It will be a challenge to show people what I can do.
"Last year was successful for me and for Feyenoord and we qualified for the Champions League but sometimes in life you have to make choices.
"I came to this club and spoke to the people here and they gave me great confidence in what we can do this year, so I have chosen to come."
El Ahmadi is looking to stamp his mark on Villa in the centre of the park, an area where they lacked experience last season particularly after Stiliyan Petrov was diagnosed with leukaemia.
He said: "As a player, I always want to have the ball and that is my main quality.
"I always want the ball and to dictate the game. That's what I did at Feyenoord and hopefully I can show the fans, the club and the manager my quality.
"I'm very happy that the manager wants me and that the club wants me and I'm looking forward to starting training again.
"It's nice that I am the manager's first transfer and I am looking forward to doing good things with the team and with the club this year.
El Ahmadi is excited with the prospect of linking up with Australian wide midfield player Brett Holman who he played against during his spell with fellow Dutch side AZ Alkmaar.
He said: "I've played against Brett a lot of times, not only when he was at AZ but when he was younger he played at Feyenoord.
"He's a great player and it's good for him, too, to come to a club like this and to make a step up.
"In Holland he showed his quality and now it's good to have him next to me. He's a great player to play with and he never gives up. I don't think I ever saw him standing still on the pitch."
Lambert said: "Karim will help the team, I have no doubt about that.
"He's a really good footballer and he's played well in a good team, a big team, and I'm looking forward to working with him.
"In fact, I'm really looking forward to getting things going on Thursday when the lads will report back for pre-season."