Aston Villa have confirmed the signing of goalkeeper Shay Given from Manchester City this evening as manager Alex McLeish makes his first signing since taking over at Villa Park.

Given, 35, is the Republic of Ireland's most capped player and has signed a five-year-deal with the Midlands club and goes straight into the squad for their next friendly, against Walsall on Thursday.

The former Blackburn and Newcastle keeper moved to City in 2009 for £7million but found first-team opportunities limited last season after England's Joe Hart became Roberto Mancini's preferred option.

Given has targeted reaching the same level he achieved earlier in his Barclays Premier League career.

Given, 35, admitted he was not featuring regularly enough under Roberto Mancini at City but the Republic of Ireland's most-capped player is now relishing his latest challenge.

'Everyone knows that I didn't play enough football last season, so I'm really pleased that I'll be able to put that right here. Hopefully, this move will get me back to where I was before in the Premier League, which is where every player wants to be playing,' he told www.avfc.co.uk.

'Aston Villa is a huge football club and I'm really excited to be joining. I'm looking forward to training and playing with the players here. They're a good bunch of lads, very talented and I know several of them already which will help.

'Obviously, I'm also excited to be working with Alex McLeish and it's going to be a fresh start for everybody at the club this season.

'It's also a new challenge and one I'm eager to embrace. My aim is to impress the Aston Villa supporters with my performances and I can't wait really to get started.'

The experienced goalkeeper started his career as a youngster at Celtic, who he had been linked with all summer, before moving on to Blackburn and Newcastle.

His consistently impressive performances at St James' Park earned him a £7million move to City in the 2009 winter transfer window but despite maintaining his form, he was relegated to the bench in order to give England's Joe Hart a run in the first team.

New Villa boss Alex McLeish made Given his goalkeeping target after Brad Friedel left for Tottenham earlier in the summer and the former Birmingham manager finally got his man before labelling his first acquisition at the club as 'world-class'.

'Shay has come here probably with something of a point to prove and that won't do any harm at all,' McLeish told www.avfc.co.uk.

'Everybody who has watched him perform over many years in the Premier League will know his pedigree, so we believe we have secured the services of one of the best goalkeepers in the business. He's a real competitor and a world-class keeper and I'm delighted he's the first signing I've made at Villa.'

The signing of Given is expected to be followed by further arrivals as McLeish looks to find replacements for Ashley Young and Stewart Downing, who have made big-money moves to Manchester United and Liverpool respectively.

The club have already had a bid for Wigan winger Charles N'Zogbia refused but are expected to go back with an improved offer while they have also been heavily linked with Tottenham defender Alan Hutton and West Ham's England midfielder Scott Parker.