Björn Engels has long had a dream to play in the Premier League, or even the Championship.
It’s been a theme throughout the Belgian’s career, any time there’s been transfer rumours, going all the way back to his time with Club Brugge, the idea of a move to England has been pushed.
Sometimes the Belgian media have questioned whether the defender has been ready for such a step, and after a difficult period with Olympiacos those doubts grew. Then he moved to Reims and managed to do well enough in France to catch the attention of Aston Villa.
Such was Engels’ English desire, he made a pact with the club that offers from the country would be listened to. On Friday we covered claims from France that Reims had kept to that stance, and he’d be moving to Aston Villa for a fee around €10m.
On Saturday, L’Equipe report he’ll sign in the ‘coming hours’ at Aston Villa.
Engels already left for Birmingham on Friday, to start going through the medical and take other official steps.
Reims have released a joint statement from their CEO and president: ‘We had a strong deal between us with Björn, whose wife is from Liverpool. He had told us of his deep desire to play one day across the Channel. So we agreed that, if and only if a Premier League club made a substantial bid at the end of their first season, we would let them go. We are not happy to lose such a player but we only kept our promise.’