James Chester has posted a touching message to Aston Villa fans on Instagram after it was confirmed he had completed a move to Stoke City – and Frederic Guilbert, Henri Lansbury and a West Brom star have responded.
Chester, 31, has joined Stoke on a one-year permanent deal from Villa after initially playing for Michael O’Neill’s side on loan last season. The Wales international played 16 times last season, helping Stoke avoid the drop.
It ends a four-year stint on the books at Villa, in which Chester captained the club and clocked up 126 appearances in all competitions for the Midlands club. Now, he will continue his career at Stoke City.
Chester, who has also played for West Brom and Hull City after coming through the ranks at Manchester United, has posted a separate message to Villa supporters, and then to Stoke fans.
View this post on Instagram
It was always a pleasure to represent Aston Villa and a huge achievement to get such a great club back up to where it belongs. Many happy memories there. • Thank you to all the staff there during my time and one of the best fan bases any player could wish for. All the best for next season. • Time for a new challenge. • #AVFC #UTV 🦁
Despite Chester’s move to Stoke being a permanent one, the Wales ace has only signed an initial 12-month deal – perhaps in order for Stoke to give themselves a chance to see if Chester has recovered from his injury issues.
Aston Villa stars Guilbert and Lansbury reacted – the latter applauding Stoke’s move to sign Chester permanently, while West Brom goalkeeper Sam Johnstone wished his former Villa teammate all the best.