How Juan Pablo Angel helped Aston Villa land £4.7m World Cup star

Carlos Sanchez’s decision to move from Elche in Spain to Aston Villa was aided by the efforts of Juan Pablo Angel for the Villans, it’s been revealed

Aston Villa have pulled off a major coup in landing Colombia World Cup star Carlos Sanchez from Elche in a deal worth £4.7 million, but it may have never come to pass were it not for the goalscoring exploits of former Villans striker Juan Pablo Angel.

A Villa player from 2001 to 2007, Angel scored 44 goals in 175 games for the Premier League side, with returns of 12 goals in 29 top-flight games during the 2001-02 season and 16 goals in 33 league fixtures over the course of the 2003-04 season proving particular high points.

And it was his appearances in the claret and blue that first brought Aston Villa to the attention of a young Carlos Sanchez, who would often watch Premier League games as a youngster, dreaming of one day playing at the highest level on English shores.

"It was always my aim to play in this country and in this league and I know Villa well as Juan Pablo also played here," the defensive midfielder told the Aston Villa website.

"I began to watch Villa games when he came in 2001. He was a goalscorer who was very important to this club and I followed his time here because he was always scoring goals."

"Since I was a boy I have always followed English football, particularly teams where Colombians have played," he added.

"When I had the chance to come to this club I had no doubts because I know this is a big club in the Premier League."

Signed for a bargain price after impressing for Los Cafeteros in Brazil, Sanchez is unlikely to feature for Villa in their Premier League opener against Stoke City this weekend, but could prove to be a significant signing for Paul Lambert.

The 28-year-old will also be the seventh Colombian to play in the Premier League, with World Cup teammate Pablo Armero the previous, most recent, addition, having spent the latter half of last season on loan at West Ham United.

The former Udinese and Napoli defender has now returned to Italy, signing for AC Milan in a permanent deal earlier this week.

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