Brian Dick on Aston Villa's new striker setting record straight and endearing himself to new supporters...
Milan Baros arrived at Villa Park yesterday afternoon and immediately looked at home. In fact, his first words were eerily reminiscent of the man whose position he has been brought in to fill.
After trips to specialists and scans from head to toe, the 23-year-old Czech international striker passed his medical and almost instantly did a passable impression of Darius Vassell, the forward who left Villa under a cloud this summer.
Vassell soured what had hitherto been a happy relationship when he moved to Manchester City and proclaimed that he was pleased to be joining a big club, leaving those who had previously adored him to choke on the inference that theirs' was not.
Clearly Baros could not say anything quite so preposterous about his former employers Liverpool, but he did go some way to setting the record straight and endearing himself to his new supporters.
"It is never easy leaving Liverpool but if you are going to a big club that helps - and Aston Villa is a big club," Baros told them. Let's hope the Vassell mimicry ends there. He has, after all, been hired to score goals.
"I wanted to stay in England or go to Spain and Aston Villa is a club with the history, the fans, the stadium and a strong squad," he said.
"They were quick and straight with me and I had no problems with the conversations between us, that is why I joined."
Baros could make his debut against Blackburn Rovers on Saturday in a match that could give him his first club start since he began Liverpool's Champions' League final against Milan in May.
That proved to be his final one for Rafael Benitez's men although the former Banik Ostrava forward was keen not to criticise the Spaniard.
He said: "Istanbul was one of the most important nights in my football career but there was some speculation before it so I was already prepared to leave Liverpool.
"I never had a personality problem with Rafael Benitez, what happened in football, happened in football.
"The manager had his ideas."
He also played down the suggestion that he had ever demanded to go to a team involved in continental competition, saying: "Of course it is great to play in Europe but I could have gone to Lyon and played in the Champions' League - that is not my main reason for going somewhere.
"Anyway, I think I can play in Europe with Villa."
Sat beside him was chairman Doug Ellis who looked well on the way to recuperating from the heart surgery that has kept him away from the club for most of the summer.
Ellis certainly appears to have hit the ground running since his return to work having intervened in the deal to bring the Czech international to Villa Park. He is clearly pleased at his latest piece of business.
His message to the club's followers was typically forthright: "It is what they have asked for and what they have got," he said.
"There have been a lot of negotiations that I have been doing from my home after [operations director] Steve Stride asked me to talk with Liverpool's chairman.
"They had this #8.5 million offer from Lyon and he was very anxious to take it but, thanks to Milan, who was insistent on coming to Aston Villa, he finally accepted my offer.
"I hope that by signing a player like Milan Baros we will entice other players as well. Players on the outside coming in will look at the team before they join.
"They know that if there is a lad named Milan Baros joining us at 23 they can see that we are looking a bit further than the end of our nose."
Ellis was also bullish about the prospect of his purple patch continuing. Villa are in desperate need of a defender after medium and long-term injuries to JLloyd Samuel and Martin Laursen which have stretched their back-line close to breaking point.
He said: "We are looking for a further defensive player. We have at the present moment one who is very keen and a couple of reserves if that doesn't come off. Hopefully we will see someone else joining us shortly."