Jota: Aston Villa sign Birmingham forward as Gary Gardner goes in opposite direction

Jota scored eight goals in 72 league appearances for Birmingham City

Aston Villa have signed forward Jota from local rivals Birmingham for an undisclosed fee on a two-year contract.

Villa midfielder Gary Gardner, 26, has gone in the opposite direction, joining the Championship side for an undisclosed fee on a three-year deal.

Jota, 27, joined Birmingham from Brentford for a club record fee of over £6m in September 2017.

The Spaniard is Villa's first signing since they won promotion back to the Premier League last month.

Villa boss Dean Smith told the club website: "I worked with Jota at Brentford. He's a superb, talented player and Birmingham signed him as their record transfer.

"I'm really happy to have him back working with us. He's got great ability, great balance and a great eye for both goals and assists."

Gardner, who spent last season on loan at Birmingham, came through the academy at Villa and scored once in 42 league games for the club, against Blues in a 1-1 draw in October 2016.

The switch means the former England Under-21 international will continue to play alongside brother Craig at St Andrew's.

Gary Gardner
Gary Gardner scored twice in 42 games for Birmingham City in 2018-19

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