Aston Villa have completed the signing of centre-back Björn Engels from French side Stade de Reims.
The Belgian has joined for an undisclosed fee believed to be around £7 million and is Dean Smith’s eighth summer signing.
Engels, 24, spent last season on loan with Reims from Olympiacos and made 33 appearances in Ligue 1, keeping 12 clean sheets and scoring once.
Reims exercised their option-to-buy clause but have since sold him to Villa following interest from sporting director Jesus Garcia Pitarch.
Villa have confirmed the signing on Twitter, with boss Dean Smith clearly delighted at finalising the defender’s signature. He told the club's website:
"Bjorn is a player that I've been watching for the past 18 months […] we're very happy to have secured his services and look forward to working with him."
Smith’s side have spent more on transfers than any other Premier League team this transfer window having seen 10 players leave the club, including defenders Tommy Elphick and Alan Hutton.
Whilst Fulham’s disastrous transfer exploits provide a fresh reminder as to the dangers of misplaced spending for promoted sides, it appears as though Engels joins a running list of promising additions at Villa Park this summer as the club gear up for a return to the top-flight.
The 24-year-old is the fourth central defender to arrive at Villa Park this transfer window, following the arrivals of Tyrone Mings, Ezri Konsa and Kortney Hause, and will join the squad imminently on their pre-season tour of the USA.