Tommy Elphick explains why he chose to join Aston Villa

Bournemouth's Tommy Elphick

The 28-year-old defender has joined Roberto Di Matteo's side from Bournemouth on a three-year deal.

Bournemouth's Tommy Elphick

Aston Villa new boy Tommy Elphick has told the club’s official website that his head was turned "straight away" once he heard about their interest in signing him.

Elphick was officially confirmed as Roberto Di Matteo’s first signing as Villa manager on Monday afternoon, joining the West Midlands side from Bournemouth for a reported £3 million fee.

The 28-year-old centre-back, who has penned a three-year deal at Villa Park, was also a target for Cardiff City and Leeds United according to HITC sources, but it did not take much convincing from Di Matteo in the end to lure him to B6.

In fact, he even flew back from his honeymoon in Italy five days early to put the finishing touches to the move.

"As soon as I heard about Villa’s interest, it’s something that turned my head straight away,” Elphick told "To be able to come here and represent such a fabulous club, with such a great history, is going to be a real honour for me.

"I cut my honeymoon short to sign. We had five days left, but to be honest my wife is very understanding in terms of football. It’s obviously what gives us our living.

"When a club like Villa come calling, the least you can do is give up a few days during your honeymoon.”

Bournemouth's Tommy Elphick in action with Aston Villa's Jordan Ayew

"Why Villa? It’s as soon as you hear the name,” he added. "There’s not been such good times recently. But when you see what they have done over the summer with the new owner, new manager, I didn’t take too much convincing.

"There have been some great, great players play for this club. To be able to pull on that claret and blue shirt in front of these fans is something I won’t take lightly."

Bournemouth's Tommy Elphick celebrates scoring their first goal

Elphick featured 145 times for Bournemouth after being signed from hometown club Brighton & Hove Albion in August 2012 for around £175,000, captaining them to promotion from both League One in 2013 and the Championship in 2015.

The veteran defender, who also scored six goals for the Cherries, was limited to just 12 Premier League appearances last season after having to undergo an operation on his ankle in September, but he managed to return in time to start the South Coast side's last six matches.

Bournemouth boss Eddie Howe labelled him the best captain he had ever worked with a few months ago, and the 5ft 11in stopper will now be asked to provide Di Matteo’s men with some much-needed leadership and experience amid their bid to bounce straight back to the top-flight.

Villa were noticeably missing a legitimate leader on the pitch last term as they finished bottom of the table with just 17 points, and Elphick’s signing signals a clear intent to fix a dressing room that has lurched from one crisis to another of late.

It remains to be seen what his arrival means for the likes of Micah Richards, Joleon Lescott, Jores Okore and Ciaran Clark, but it is safe to assume that the plan is for him to be an immediate starter after being convinced to drop down a division.

Bournemouth's Tommy Elphick celebrates scoring their first goal

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