Aging Ginola joins Aston Villa
French soccer star David Ginola signed with Aston Villa in a three-million-pound ($6.7 million Cdn) move Tuesday and insisted he is not past his prime.
The price tag paid by Aston Villa for the 33-year-old French winger's move from Tottenham has raised eyebrows, but Ginola and Villa boss John Gregory insisted he is in peak physical form.
"I want to do my best for Aston Villa like I did for Tottenham and Newcastle before," Ginola said at a Villa Park news conference after signing his two-year contract.
"I have read things saying that biologically at 33 you're not prepared to make the necessary effort but I can tell you I'm prepared to do my best and I will do it."
Gregory certainly had no qualms regarding Ginola's fitness.
FA Cup runners-up Villa have been reeling from transfer requests from Gareth Southgate, Ugo Ehiogu and Julian Joachim, and Gregory had been chasing a big-name signing like Ginola all summer in a bid to appease the fans.
"I don't think it being over 30 has done (Frank) Leboeuf, (Marcel) Desailly and (Didier) Deschamps any harm and they have gone on to excel in the Premiership," Gregory said, referring to French World Cup stars. "Today's professional footballers look after themselves very well.
"David's a very fit lad, looks after himself exceptionally well and sometimes it's a direct route to experience. Certainly in David's case we are signing a very experienced player who is exceptionally fit."
Villa is Ginola's third English Premier League club after he joined Newcastle United from Paris Saint Germain in 1995.
He moved to Tottenham two years later but was disappointed not to make the successful French World Cup squad in 1998.
After initially excelling for Spurs, his future at White Hart Lane looked in doubt when George Graham, who has a reputation for preferring workrate to flair, took over as manager.
When asked why he decided to join Villa, Ginola admitted it seemed like the only club which wanted him.
"First of all, this is the only club who really wanted me and it was enough for me to think about moving," Ginola said. "Villa were ready to pay the fee -- three million pounds -- at my age is a lot of money. I am very pleased they wanted me.
"It is important for a club to be involved in Europe and I hope to be involved. You get more experience from playing in Europe and travelling abroad is always very good. It is the way you show the club to the rest of Europe."