Villa sign France winger Diaby from Leverkusen

Moussa Diaby
Moussa Diaby registered nine goals and nine assists in the Bundesliga last season

Aston Villa have signed France winger Moussa Diaby from Bayer Leverkusen.

Villa’s previous club record was £33m for Argentina midfielder Emiliano Buendia from Norwich in June 2021.

“I will always look back happily and gratefully on my time in Leverkusen,” said Diaby. “Now I want to take the next step, start a new chapter.”

Diaby joined Leverkusen from Paris St-Germain in 2019 and went on to register 49 goals and 48 assists from 173 games for the German Bundesliga club.

He has 10 caps for France after making his international debut in 2021 and is Villa’s third summer signing after Belgium midfielder Youri Tielemans from relegated Leicester City and Spain centre-back Pau Torres from Villarreal.

Unai Emery left Villarreal to become Villa boss last October and steered the team to a seventh-placed finish in the Premier League, securing qualification for next season’s Europa Conference League.

Diaby has already linked up with his new team-mates on Villa’s pre-season tour of the United States.

“As a very young player [at Leverkusen], I received so much trust and playing time that I was ultimately able to become who I am today,” he added.

“It might not have been possible so quickly without Bayer 04 and all the team-mates and employees who have always supported me.”

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As a product of the PSG academy, Diaby progressed through the youth ranks while Emery was first-team coach from 2016-18.

Diaby made his first-team debut in September 2018, shortly after Emery’s departure, before joining Leverkusen on a five-year deal the following summer.

“Moussa Diaby developed into a fantastic player during his time at Bayer 04,” said the club’s sporting director Simon Rolfes.

“The level of professionalism and determination with which he went about his job every day was truly exceptional.

“With his special style of play and enormous speed, Moussa has left his mark on our team in recent years. He is a person who has his heart in the right place.”

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