Date: 28th January 2008 at 12:45pm
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Aston Villa defender Olof Mellberg will be leaving Villa Park for Turin after signing a pre-contract agreement with Juventus.

However, the Swedish international will be remaining with the Villans until the summer, with the suggestion of a January transfer now dismissed. Olof was clearly delighted with the chance for a final pay day with the Italian giants:

‘I am very happy with this agreement. It will be an important experience.

‘Now I must finish the season in an Aston Villa shirt but I really cannot wait to come to Juventus.’

It is likely that Melly will now continue in his right-back position as Martin O’Neill remains motionless so far in the January transfer window. The Villa manager has no problems with continuing to select the defender, despite the likelihood of him having one eye on his summer move to the continent:

‘Olof’s commitment has been excellent and, even if he decides to go in the summer or signs a pre-contract, I would have no qualms about continuing to play him,’ O’Neill said.

‘I recognise this is a very important time of his career and when you get clubs the size of Juventus making enquiries about you then you have to weigh things up.’

Juve boss Claudio Ranieri has already found cover for his side until Mellberg’s arrival, picking up Guglielmo Stendardo from league rivals Lazio until June.