Premier League

Benteke agrees new Villa deal

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Fri, 19 Jul 2013 18:16:00

Burnley have signed former Sunderland striker Ryan Noble on a one-year contract.

The 22-year-old, who had loan spells at Hartlepool, Derby and Watford, had been tracked by Clarets manager Sean Dyche for some time after becoming a free agent.

"Ryan is a young goalscorer who was searching for a chance at Sunderland and didn't quite get it," Dyche told Burnley's official website.

"But we hope to give him as chance here to further his development into possibly a first team player.

"We want him to be hungry to perform and impress and improve himself here. He will get the platform and that is the challenge."

Huddersfield midfielder Scott Arfield also joined Turf Moor on Friday on a two-year deal.

The Serie A club on Thursday night had confirmed reaching an agreement with City for the transfer of the Montenegro international, who scored 40 goals in 134 appearances for the Viola, and now the versatile forward has agreed terms at the Etihad Stadium.

A statement published on mcfc.co.uk read "Manchester City are delighted to announce the signing of Stevan Jovetic from Fiorentina.

"The 23-year-old Montenegro international will now join up with his new team-mates over the weekend."

Jovetic becomes City's second signing of the day after Spain striker Alvaro Negredo arrived in Manchester for a reported £16.4million plus add-ons of up to £4.2million.

The financial terms of Jovetic's deal - or the length of his contract - have not yet been disclosed by either club but it is understood Fiorentina valued the player at around 23million euros.

Jovetic signed for the Tuscan club from Partizan Belgrade, where he made club history by captaining the team at the age of 19, five years ago and despite missing the entire 2010-11 Serie A season due to a cruciate ligament injury, he became a key part of Fiorentina's system.

He hit 14 goals as La Viola finished a disappointing 13th in 2012 but 13 goals helped Vincenzo Montella's men to fourth place and the Europa League in the recently-concluded season.

Jovetic has also represented the senior Montenegro side since 2007, playing 27 times and scoring 10 goals.

He is reunited with former Fiorentina team-mate Matija Nastasic at the Etihad Stadium and joins Negredo, midfielder Fernandinho and winger Jesus Navas as one of City manager Manuel Pellegrini's four summer recruits.

The striker has committed his future to the club until 2017 after a "full and frank discussion" with manager Paul Lambert.

It marks a sudden change of heart from the 22-year-old, with Villa confirming only 11 days ago that he had asked to leave.

Villa manager Paul Lambert said: "I had a full and frank discussion with Christian Benteke on his return to training this week regarding his future. It is my opinion that the best thing for Christian is to remain at Aston Villa.

"He enjoyed a terrific first season at the club and can use that as a platform to hopefully enjoy more success this season.

"I'm delighted, having time to re-evaluate his future, Christian has decided to commit to the club. It's a huge bonus and I'm sure the supporters are every bit as delighted as me to have him on board and raring to go."

Benteke said: "I spoke with the manager when I returned to training and we had a good talk. I am very happy to be back here in Birmingham and at Aston Villa, and to sign a new contract.

"This is a great club and it has given me a lot. Now I have to give back to my team-mates and the fans who have always been right behind me.

"The end of last season was very good and the lads were very strong. It was not easy but we came through it and the confidence is high. So everyone knows what we have to do now - be better. I need to be better than last year."

Keeping Benteke is a huge coup for Villa, with the Belgium international establishing himself as one of the Barclays Premier League's most feared strikers in his first season at the club.

Signed from Genk last summer, he scored 19 Premier League goals to help keep the midlands club in the top flight.

It was in general a season of struggle for Villa, who battled relegation for much of the campaign before finishing five points clear of the drop.

News of Benteke's new deal came hours after Villa confirmed right-back Matt Lowton had signed a new four-year contract.

Lowton, 24, impressed in his first season at Villa after moving from Sheffield United.

Fellow defenders Ciaran Clark and Nathan Baker, midfielder Ashley Westwood, striker Andreas Weimann and goalkeeper Brad Guzan have also agreed new deals this summer.

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