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What can Tommy Elphick bring to Aston Villa?

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Leadership and experience are two key skills that Elphick bring to Villa's shaky defence.

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Aston Villa have today confirmed the signing of former Bournemouth captain Tommy Elphick on a three-year deal.

The centre-back joins a defensive line-up consisting of Joleon Lescott, Micah Richards, Ciaran Clark, Nathan Baker, Kevin Toner and Jores Okore. So, yeah - a pretty stacked position.

That doesn't mean Elphick will be benchwarming at the start of his Villa career - even if Villa struggle to move Lescott and Richards on, their form has been dire and it will be they, not Elphick, who will have to prove themselves to Roberto Di Matteo if they are to stay at B6.

Elphick is in his prime right now at the age of 28 (two years older than Ciaran Clark) and brings more experience and leadership qualities to Villa than almost the whole defensive corps combined. Tommy lead 'The Cherries' to two promotions as well as successful stay in the Premier League and fans of the south-coast upstarts will sorely miss him.

Elphick isn't an incredibly gifted footballer but has the same qualities that flowed through the veins of two Villa legends - Martin Laursen and Olof Mellberg. He wears his heart on his sleeve, gives his all and will drag everyone around him up by the scruff of their collars. He has an infectious personality and is guaranteed to give 110%.

This move is massively important for Villa as in one swoop because it might add just enough experience and character to Villa's dressing room and allow Di Matteo and Xia to focus on more 'creative targets' instead of potentially wasting money in the name of 'experience', which has given us Joleon Lescott and Micah Richards.

It's worth mentioning that Elphick's signing is possibly one of the more important signings for Aston Villa in recent years and will start Xia's reign exactly as I would like to see it eventually defined: sensible and level-headed.