Villa bring in Libor Kozak

Aston Villa manager Paul Lambert has completed his seventh signing of the summer with the arrival of Czech Republic striker Libor Kozak from Lazio.

Kozak, 24, has signed a four-year contract at Villa Park in a deal worth an estimated £6 million.

Lambert has spent the whole of the summer working under the radar to conclude the deal for the striker who finished top scorer in the Europa League last season, with ten goals in the competition.

The complicated deal has required plenty of patience from Lambert, who believes the striker can take some of the pressure off Christian Benteke.

"We've been on this one for the last few months, trying to bring him to the club, so I'm delighted to get it across the line," Lambert said on the official Villa website. "Libor has an unbelievable scoring record in the Europa League, incredible really. He is powerful, too, and I'm looking forward to working with him. We needed to bring in someone like Libor to help the overall philosophy to work.

"He wasn't given much opportunity for Lazio in Serie A, but he showed proper potential in leading the line there at a strong club with a great tradition and we need somebody like him as we only have Christian Benteke really as a main target man.

"He'll take that burden off Christian and he'll add greatly to what we've got, with the likes of Nicklas Helenius, who's a different type of player, Gabby Agbonlahor, Aleks Tonev and Andi Weimann in that area of the pitch where we can hurt teams."

Kozak said he was "really happy" to be making the switch to Villa Park.

"I'm ready for this new step in my career," the player said. "I hope it's a good step for me and also for Villa because everything is about the team. This is a big club, a very historic club with a fantastic fan base and, for me, this is really important.

"From when I was a young boy, I have dreamt of playing in the Premier League and to do this with a club such as Villa is incredibly motivating. It's real now and I'm very happy about this."

Villa have allowed Stephen Ireland to join Stoke on loan while Barry Bannan has moved to Crystal Palace on a permanent deal.