'Amazing' ambition was key to Buendia's decision to choose Villa
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
European ambitions helped convince Emi Buendia that Aston Villa was the right move for him.
Norwich City confirmed the club-record sale of their reigning Player of the Season on Thursday, with their wealthy Premier League rivals understood to have committed to an initial £33million, which could rise to £38m and with a sell-on clause.
Villa finished 11th last season but were only 12 points adrift of fourth, as opposed to 27 clear of the relegation zone, enjoying victories over Liverpool, Chelsea, Leicester, Arsenal and Tottenham during an impressive campaign.
Dean Smith has added the Championship’s outstanding player to his squad as the Birmingham side set their sights higher - with Villa reportedly more than doubling the wages the Argentine would have been on at City next season, on a five-year contract.
"For myself, it is to adapt well, to try to play as many games and as many minutes as possible and also to help the team with everything, with goals, with assists, with some work,” Buendia said of his targets.
“The main thing is for me to help the team and the club, then the team in general is to reach the goals, some good things – the project and the ambition of the club is amazing.
“So hopefully we have a really good season together, with the players and the fans. We are looking to play in the next year in Europe.”
Buendia posted an emotionally charged statement to say farewell to Canaries supporters and thank City for “three wonderful years” since arriving from Getafe in 2018.
His first interview as a Villa player was subsequently released on his new club’s website and he admitted that the Villans’ goalkeeper, Emiliano Martinez, had been encouraging Buendia to join him in Birmingham while both have been away with Argentine recently.
“I am really, really happy for this moment, it is an amazing step to move to Villa now. I am excited to start the new season with the club,” the former Norwich star told Villa TV.
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“He (Martinez) has already told me a lot of the club and the city. He has said a lot of very good things about a lot of things.
“The last few weeks together we have been speaking together about the situation.
“Every day he would text me or with the national team he would speak with me to try to convince me!
“So I’m really happy to be here now, it’s a really good step for me.”
The former Real Madrid trainee was also convinced it was the right move for him after hearing the plans of manager Dean Smith.
“He told me about the objectives in the club and how he wants the team to play,” Buendia added.
“That’s one of the things that convinced me to choose Villa because of the style, the project and the ambition of the club to make very good things this season and in the future.
“It was a really good chat together so I’m really happy to get this chance.”