Aston Villa have handed Philippe Senderos a two-year contract, during which the defender hopes to achieve something special with the club.
The 29-year-old first rose to prominence in England when Arsene Wenger lured him to Arsenal in 2003, and he was in the starting XI when the Gunners won the FA Cup against Manchester United two years later. That was to prove the high point of his seven-year spell at the Emirates Stadium, having struggled to become a first team regular.
Senderos had loan spells at Italian giants Milan and back in the Premier League with Everton, before he eventually signed for Fulham in 2010. He spent four years at the Craven Cottage club, who were relegated last season, although the final five months were spent in Spain when he joined Valencia on a temporary deal during the January window.
With his contract at the Cottagers expiring this summer, the central defender has now signed a two-year contract with Villa. The Midlands outfit have spent the past three years in the wrong half of the top-flight table, but the former Arsenal player is determined to help them progress and create something special in the coming campaigns.
“I am really delighted to be joining Aston Villa, a great club with such a big history, and for me this is a great step in my career,” Senderos told Villa’s official website. “This is a team and a club which wants to do better, I know this, and hopefully we can all develop together and create something special. My goal is to help the team keep as many clean sheets as we can and to help drive Villa where we deserve to be and want to be.”
Senderos will play for Switzerland in the World Cup Finals this summer, which will be his third time on such a stage having previously featured in 2006 and 2010 although an ankle injury cut short his time at the latter. With 52 caps to his name he has plenty of experience, and he believes this will be helpful when he links up with his new team-mates.
“I have come to an age where I’ve learnt a lot under some great managers such as Arsene Wenger at Arsenal and Ottmar Hitzfeld with the Swiss national team, and I’ve built up a lot of experience,” added the former Servette youngster. “I can develop further and continue to get better and this will be my goal – to continue to grow as a player, to help the team to grow and to contribute everything I can through the season.”
Villa manager Paul Lambert, meanwhile, said: “He’s played for some top sides and was a big influence in Arsenal’s run to the UEFA Champions League final in 2006, so we’re bringing in a really experienced player who’s been there and done it. This will be Philippe’s third World Cup finals, and there aren’t too many players who compete at that level over that stretch of time. He will be a great addition to the group.”