Pires joins Aston Villa after passing medical
Former France midfielder Robert Pires joined Premier League club Aston Villa until the end of the season on Thursday after passing a medical examination.
The 37-year-old Pires, who won the World Cup and European Championship with France, was free to join Villa outside of the two annual transfer windows because he had been without a club since being released by Villarreal in the offseason.
He had been training with Arsenal, where he won two Premier League titles and three FA Cups.
Villa manager Gerard Houllier made a similar surprise signing when he was at Liverpool with the experienced Gary McAllister.
McAllister was 35 when he joined for free in 2000 but helped the team win the League Cup, FA Cup and UEFA Cup in his first season.
He is now Houllier's assistant at Villa.
''Robert is an experienced player with a good mentality and he can help the players here, particularly our younger players,'' Houllier said. ''I believe he can bring a lot to the team and I'm delighted to welcome him here.''