A long injury list has prompted Aston Villa manager Gerard Houllier to sign former Arsenal and France midfielder to a contract. Pires, 37, was released by Villarreal over the
summer and has been training with Arsenal, with which he won two Premier League titles and three FA Cups in a six-year stint. He left the Gunners for Villarreal four years ago and in August, 2006,
suffered a cruciate tear in his right knee that has limited his playing time.
Says his former Arsenal coach Arsene Wenger, "To me, before his knee injury, Pires was the best left [side] attacking midfielder in the world. With us he was just flying. Even if he has lost the speed of his youth, he can still help at Aston Villa thanks to his knowledge of the game."
Because he is out of contract and was freed during the summer transfer window, Pires can be signed and registered to play before the re-opening of the European window in January.
If his paperwork can be completed in time he may be included in the squad for a match at Blackburn on Sunday.