English League 2

Gulls secure double signing

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Tue, 09 Jul 2013 11:47:00

Atletico Madrid president Enrique Cerezo believes his club have got a bargain after agreeing a cut-price deal with Barcelona for Spain striker David Villa.

Atletico will pay Barca an initial 2.1million euros for the 31-year-old - Spain's record all-time goalscorer - rising to 5.1m euros if he sees out the entirety of a three-year deal.

"Many Spanish and foreign teams would have sacrificed a lot to have Villa in their squads and we have paid a very low price for him, so we're very pleased about that," Cerezo told Radio Nacional de Espana.

"The most important factor in the deal was that we have wanted to sign Villa for a long time and that's why we're so happy. We wanted to sign him when he went to Valencia from Zaragoza, and now he belongs to us."

Villa started less than half of Barcelona's league games last season, scoring 10 goals, but Cerezo is convinced he still has a lot to give.

He said: "Villa still has many seasons left in football. He is a natural goalscorer. We are expecting great things from him because he is one of the key players in the Spain team. We expect him to score many goals."

Atletico finished third in La Liga last season thanks in no small part to the 28 goals scored by Radamel Falcao, who has since left to join big-spending Monaco.

But it appears Cerezo is satisfied Villa can fill the void and does not plan to spend further on the likes of attacking midfielder Diego, a former Atletico loanee who is back at Wolfsburg.

"It will be very difficult for Diego to come here, I would say in this moment that it's impossible," he said.

"I don't know who will be the next to arrive, the important thing is to maintain the team we have."

The 26-year-old centre-back has joined the Shrimps on a two-year deal and is expected to make his debut in a friendly with Burnley on Tuesday evening.

Manager Jim Bentley will make Hughes his new captain, pinpointing the importance of his leadership qualities.

"Mark is a player I have always kept an eye on and I delighted that he has signed for us," he told the club's official website.

"He has a lot of qualities and is a great talker as well as a good defender and will be an excellent captain for us."

The Chilean will be presented to media at Carrington, almost four weeks after his appointment was confirmed.

He will be joined by new signing Fernandinho, the Brazilian midfielder bought from Shakhtar Donetsk at a cost to the club of £30million.

Pellegrini met the majority of his squad this week for the start of their pre-season programme.

They travel to South Africa later in the week ahead of friendlies against SuperSport United and AmaZulu FC.

They are also participating in the Barclays Asia Trophy in Hong Kong this month before playing a tournament in Munich and a friendly against Arsenal in Helsinki.

They begin their Premier League campaign against Newcastle on August 17.

Pellegrini, 59, left Malaga to succeed Roberto Mancini at the Etihad Stadium.

Mancini was sacked in the final week of last season after the club surrendered their Premier League title and were surprisingly beaten by Wigan in the FA Cup final.

The high-profile arrivals of Pellegrini and Fernandinho, and Spain winger Jesus Navas from Sevilla for an initial £14.9million, have heralded a summer of change.

City appear to have pulled out of a move for £53million-rated Napoli striker Edinson Cavani and have lost out to Real Madrid for playmaker Isco, but continue to be linked with numerous possible targets.

Former captain Carlos Tevez has also left the club for Juventus amid the changes.

Chapell, who impressed during a brief loan spell with the Gulls last season, has left Sheffield United and signed a two-year deal.

Cameron, a free agent following his departure from Aston Villa, spent a chunk of last season on loan in League Two with Rotherham.

He has also signed a two-year deal as manager Alan Knill turns his focus to signing replacements for strikers Rene Howe and Ryan Jarvis.

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