MATTY CASH says he is ready to go from Siro to hero – after completing his £16million move to Aston Villa.
The 23-year-old Nottingham Forest full-back was a shock target for Italian aces AC Milan in the January transfer window until Forest pulled the plug on the deal to focus on their promotion push.
But the Slough-born defender says even the lure of life in Italy’s fashion-capital Milan couldn’t compete with the prospect of strutting his stuff in the Premier League with Villa.
Cash, who also had a £6m move to German giants RB Leipzig rejected by Forest three seasons ago, says signing for former European champs Villa was a no-brainer once Dean Smith made his move.
He said: “My agent rang me and said that Villa were interested, and immediately it was the place I wanted to come to.
“I said, ‘Don’t even worry about anywhere else, I want to come here and play.’
“It’s such a big football club, from the fanbase to the stadium. Every time I played at Villa Park before it just sold itself to me.
“It’s a very proud moment for me and my family, and I can’t wait to get started. Playing for such a big club is going to be brilliant.”
Villa beat Premier rivals Fulham and Sheffield United, as well as heading off interest from the continent to land the attacking right-back, who became a huge fans’ favourite after clocking up more than 120 league appearances for Forest.
Smith said: “We believe we have secured one of England’s brightest young prospects and are delighted to welcome Matty to Villa.
“He has an excellent playing record for a young player and we believe he will settle in easily and continue his rapid development into a top full-back.”
Cash was the runaway winner of Forest’s Player of the Year award and has starred in several positions during his six-year stay at the City Ground, where he scored 13 goals in 141 games across all competitions.
He told AVTV: “It’s been a crazy journey from the age of 17, getting released at Wycombe Wanderers to kicking on.
“I had a very good five years at Forest and I can’t thank them enough – they were very good to me.
Villa have paid Forest an initial fee of £14million which could rise to £16million with add-ons.
They will now push on and try to add a couple of strikers in the shape of Bournemouth’s Callum Wilson and Ollie Watkins from Brentford.