Aston Villa defender Ritchie De Laet joined A-League club Melbourne City on a season-long loan.
The two-time Belgium international, 29, reunites with City coach Warren Joyce, who worked with De Laet at Royal Antwerp and while in charge of Manchester United’s reserves.
De Laet, who was part of Leicester City’s Premier League-winning squad in the first half of 2015-16, has struggled for game time since joining Villa two years ago.
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“Ritchie has a lot of experience at a very high level and his quality and versatility provides us with a number of options,” Joyce said of De Laet, who joins City as a marquee player.
“I know Ritchie well having coached him before during my time in England and Belgium. He can play as a defender or across the midfield with quality on the ball to help link defence and attack.”
De Laet spent the second half of last campaign on loan at Royal Antwerp, the club where he started his professional career.
He is keen to reunite with Joyce as City prepare for their A-League campaign, which begins with a derby clash against Victory on October 20.
“I’m excited to join a club like Melbourne City with big ambitions, that plays attractive football and has a very strong coaching group, led by a coach I know well, Warren Joyce,” De Laet said.
“I enjoyed playing under Warren earlier in my career. He’s a coach that’s always looking to help improve players and demands hard work.
“I’m looking forward to getting out in front of the fans and helping contribute to the team this year.”
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