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Aston Villa sign Kieran Richardson

Jul 12, 2014, 7:47 AM EDT

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Aston Villa have announced the signing of Kieran Richardson to a two-year contract. The left-sided player, who can player either in defense or midfield, joins from relegated club Fulham.

The signing of Richardson is Villa’s third of the season. He joins Joe Cole, who joined from West Ham, and Philippe Senderos, most recently at Spanish side Valencia, as the newest players to wear the claret-and-blue shirt this season.

The Villa, who battled against relegation last season but ultimately finished 15th in the Premier League, are struggling to reinforce their squad ahead of the upcoming season. While other clubs target flashy signings, Villa are constrained by a transfer budget that permits spending only if current players are sold. Owner Randy Lerner put the club up for sale early this summer, and unless it is sold prior to the start of the season, it is unlikely much will be spent.

Villa’s recent signings also show a marked change in strategy. For the past two seasons under Paul Lambert, the club has often spent little, but its targets were young players from outside the British Isles, primarily Northern Europe. All three of this summer’s signings have significant Premier League experience. They also are much older than the 21- and 22-year-olds brought in recently: both Senderos and Richardson are 29, while Cole is 32.

Lerner’s inability to sell Aston Villa leaves the club in a bit of a limbo. At this point, most fans are simply hoping that the added experience will reinforce the squad, and enable them to avoid yet another relegation battle.

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