Richard Dunne is convinced Aston Villa can cross the great divide and break into the top four in the Barclays Premier League this season.
Dunne on Wednesday finally joined Martin O'Neill's side in a £6million deal from Manchester City, despite passing his medical and the two clubs having agreed the fee five days ago.
"Aston Villa have improved each season recently, and hopefully I can be part of a squad that can challenge for a Champions League spot," said Dunne on AVTV.
Speculation regarding the delay centred around the fact Dunne was negotiating a pay-off from a club he had served for the last nine years, and with a testimonial in the offing.
But with the Premier League now granting clearance after sifting through the backlog of transfers following a hectic deadline day, centre-back Dunne is a Villa player.
Despite losing their opening-day game at home to Wigan and crashing out of the Europa League to Rapid Vienna, Dunne firmly believes the club has the potential to clinch a Champions League place for next season.
The 52-times-capped Republic of Ireland international, who has signed a four-year deal, said: "I'm delighted. It's a great opportunity for me.
"With Aston Villa, with the experience they would have gained from last season - they went so close for so long at the top end and the manager has bought in some new players into the squad this year - maybe it might help us go that bit further."
Dunne, who turns 30 on the 21st of this month, was relieved that what proved to be a surprisingly protracted move was finally done and dusted.
"I came on Friday and passed my medical and I thought it would be a straightforward day for me," he added. "I think there was just a lot of pressure on a lot of people with so many deals going through, but I'm just really pleased that finally we have it all done."
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