AFC Bournemouth captain Tommy Elphick has completed a transfer to Aston Villa.
The 28 year old has signed a three year deal at Villa Park, with Aston Villa paying AFC Bournemouth a reported £3.25million, although the transfer fee remains officially undisclosed.
The Daily Echo believe that former club Brighton & Hove Albion are due a sell on fee.
The deal ends a four year chapter for Elphick at Dean Court.
Born in Brighton, Elphick came through the youth system at his home town club and broke into the first team for the first time in 2005, getting sent off on his debut against Reading in the Championship.
The following season he played three times at the end of their League One season which set him up for his break through year in 2007/08 where he made 44 appearances and won the player of the season award.
The 6ft 2in defender played a key role in Brighton’s promotion winning campaign in 2010/11, making 35 appearances, but didn’t feature for Brighton following their promotion to the Championship, after rupturing his Achilles tendon at the end of that promotion winning season.
He returned to action during the following pre-season, but had slipped down the pecking order and was expected to go out on loan during the first part of the season, but instead made the move to the Cherries on a permanent basis in August 2012.
Overall he made 182 appearances for Brighton & Hove Albion.
The transfer was officially undisclosed, but was reportedly around £175,000.
He was later made captain and captained the side to promotion to the Championship during his first season at the club making 39 appearances.
The following season, still as captain, the Cherries went on to finish 10th, a club record finish in the second tier of English football with Elphick making 42 appearances.
The 2014/15 season however proved that the best was yet to come.
Elphick made 50 appearances in all competitions as AFC Bournemouth went on to win the Championship title, earning promotion to the Premier League.
As captain, Elphick lifted the famous Football League Championship trophy, celebrating AFC Bournemouth’s first promotion to the top flight of English football.
Unfortunately for the Cherries captain, he went on to miss the majority of that following campaign due to injury.
Elphick didn’t feature at all for side in the Premier League between 12th September 2015 and 2nd April 2016 due to an ankle injury.
Elphick required an operation after it was later revealed that he had chipped a bone in his ankle in the 4-3 win at West Ham in August.
Elphick slowly worked his way towards full match fitness with a number of appearances for the Cherries development squad and two appearances for the first team in the FA Cup in January 2016, but he could not break back into the Cherries back four whilst Adam Smith, Simon Francis, Steve Cook and Charlie Daniels remained fit.
Following Smith’s injury and Francis reverting back to full back, Elphick returned to the squad and played the final 7 games of the season.
With Elphick set to enter the final 12 months of his contract, the Daily Echo reported that ‘Eddie Howe offered Elphick an extension to his existing deal’, but a new contract could not be agreed as ‘ the length of the new contract was a sticking point’ for Elphick.
With no new deal agreed, the AFC Bournemouth ‘defender was given permission to speak to Villa after Cherries had accepted a bid, believed to have been in excess of £3million’.
Elphick returned early from his honeymoon in Italy to undergo a medical at Villa Park and agreed personal terms and the transfer has now been rubber stamped.
Overall Elphick made 145 appearances for the Cherries, captaining the squad to two promotions.
AFC Bournemouth Chief executive Neill Blake told afcb.co.uk…
“I would like to place on record my thanks, and that of everyone connected with AFC Bournemouth, to Tommy Elphick for his service to this football club over the past four years, Throughout his time here he has been a model professional, and will now leave behind the legacy of being this football club`s most successful captain, leading us to two promotions and two club-record finishes.
“It is always difficult to say goodbye to people who have played such a huge part in our success, but we now wish him all the best in his next challenge at Aston Villa.’
Elphick told avfc.co.uk…
‘…As soon as I heard about Villa`s interest, it`s something that turned my head straight away.
‘To be able to come here and represent such a fabulous Club, with such a great history, is going to be a real honour for me…’
A) Sign new contract at AFCB where you’ll likely be on the bench to add competition, given your position is one that obviously needs strengthening.
B) Move to a big club in need of fresh blood, first choice, pay rise, new challenge after several years at Bournemouth
It’s a logical step for Tommy I think.
I would be surprised if we hadn’t offered Elphick a deal, but I’m certain Eddie would have been honest about Elphick’s position in the squad. – Join the conversation here.
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