Reading Football Club are pleased to confirm that experienced defender Tommy Elphick has completed a loan move from Aston Villa, putting his signature to a contract at Hogwood Park this morning.
The 30-year-old centre-half has completed the paperwork on a switch to the Madejski which will see him don the blue and white hoops until the end of the 2017-18 campaign. He will wear squad number 3 and is eligible for selection for tomorrow night’s clash against Burton Albion.
Manager Jaap Stam said, “With the injuries we have at the back, we needed to bring in an extra defender and we were looking for someone who can add individual ability, quality and experience to the squad. Tommy is a player who does just that; he can play in the style we want to play and the experience he brings to the squad is also going to be very important. We are very pleased to have him here."
Elphick arrives with more than 350 professional appearances to his name accrued during an impressive career spent at a total of three clubs to date – Brighton & Hove Albion, AFC Bournemouth and Aston Villa.
He came through the youth ranks as a Seagull and soon broke into the first team on the south coast. Tommy was first handed the captain’s armband at the age of 20, in the same season that he pipped former Royals striker Nicky Forster to Albion’s Player of the Season award, and he won promotion to the Championship with Brighton in 2010-11.
In 2012, he left Albion to move along the coastline and sign for Bournemouth. Again, chosen to sport the skipper’s armband, Elphick would win promotion to the Championship in his first full campaign as a Cherry.
Two years later, Tommy was an ever present in Bournemouth’s second tier title win – Eddie Howe’s side accruing 90 points to top the Championship table and earn promotion to the Premier League in 2014-15. The 5’11” centre-back had become the only man to captain the club to two separate promotion-winning campaigns.
His Premier League debut came on the opening day of the 2015-16 season against Aston Villa – the club he would join in the summer of 2016 – and he scored his only top flight goal past Chelsea’s Asmir Begovic towards the end of that inaugural top flight campaign.
A move to Villa Park saw him become Roberto Di Matteo’s first signing at the club and he was immediately identified as the club captain; Elphick has made 32 appearances for Villa to date, last playing a part in Steve Bruce’s side’s 5-0 home win over Bristol City at the start of this month.
Chief Executive Ron Gourlay said, “Tommy has captained every one of the three clubs he has represented – so it is clear that we have acquired not only a very committed and talented defender but a natural leader. I am delighted we have been able to secure the services of a player of his calibre for the remainder of the 2017-18 season.”
Technical Director Brian Tevreden added, “The market has been typically tough during this January transfer window, but I am very pleased we have been able to add a defender with such vast experience and undoubted pedigree to the first team squad.”
The loan remains subject to the normal ratification procedures from the relevant football authorities. However as a Royal, Elphick will now be reunited with his former Brighton defensive colleague Paul McShane, a fellow member of Bournemouth’s promotion-winning squad in Yann Kermorgant, and his Villa teammate from last season Leandro Bacuna.