Manchester United Signs Aston Villa’s Ashley Young on Five-Year Contract

Premier League soccer champion Manchester United said it signed forward Ashley Young from Aston Villa to a five-year deal.

United made the announcement on its website, without stating the transfer payment. U.K. media reports have put the fee for the 25-year-old at about 16 million pounds ($25.6 million).

Young is expected to double his wages to about 120,000 pounds a week, the Daily Telegraph reported today. The England international said the chance to play for the record 19-time English champion was “one I couldn’t turn down.”

“It’s a prospect I always looked at from being a child, to play for one of the biggest clubs in the world,” Young told United’s television channel in comments posted on the club website. “I’ve got that opportunity now so I’ve just got to take it with two hands.”

Young, who can play on the wing or through the center, began his career with Watford and left for Villa in January 2007 for a fee of as much as 9.7 million pounds. Since then he’s played 157 league games, scoring 30 goals. He made his England debut in November 2007 and has two goals in 15 matches.

Young is United’s second signing of the offseason after defender Phil Jones joined from Blackburn in a 16.5 million- pound move. Goalkeeper David de Gea may also join from Atletico Madrid for a reported 18 million pounds.

Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson is rebuilding his squad after the retirements of goalkeeper Edwin van der Sar, midfielder Paul Scholes and defender Gary Neville. United won the league for the 19th time last season, taking it one ahead of Liverpool.

‘Terrific Contribution’

Villa last week appointed Alex McLeish as manager, five days after he resigned at the Premier League team’s Midlands archrival Birmingham.

“Ashley has made a terrific contribution for Villa over the past 4 1/2 seasons,” McLeish said on the club’s website. “He has become an important player in the England team during that time and I’m sure he will be looking forward to his new challenge.”

McLeish is the seven-time English champion’s third manager in 10 months after Martin O’Neill resigned just before last season and Gerard Houllier stepped down on June 1 because of heart problems.

To contact the reporter on this story: Peter-Joseph Hegarty in London at phegarty@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Chris Elser at celser@bloomberg.net

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