Palace strike Davids deal

Eagles swoop to bring Dutch star out of retirement

Davids: Surprise signing

Davids: Surprise signing

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Crystal Palace have confirmed they have agreed terms to sign Dutch star Edgar Davids on a pay-as-you-play deal.

The former Holland international, 37, has not played competitive football since leaving Ajax at the end of the 2007/08 season.

He almost joined Leicester last October but will now pull on his boots again for their Championship rivals Palace.

The former AC Milan, Juventus, Barcelona and Inter Milan star has been back in training in anticipation of a return to the game.

And Davids insists he is not taking his return to action lightly as he believes the Championship is far stronger than its counterparts in Italy and Spain.

"I'm sharp and fit," Davids told Sky Sports News. "I've been training with Ajax the last few weeks.

"The Championship is one of the strongest leagues in the world, after the Premier League.

"If you look at the Serie A and Serie B, and at the Primera Division and the league under that, they're not as strong as the Championship.

Big challenge

"It's really, really physical so it's going to be a big challenge for me and I'm not going to underestimate it."

Palace had their transfer embargo lifted earlier on Friday after coming out of administration.

Davids did not cost a fee as he was without a club but his signing still provides a major boost for the London club's profile and morale after narrowly avoiding relegation last season due to their 10-point deduction.

Davids still has a home in London from his two-year spell with Tottenham between 2005 and 2007, and despite growing up in Amsterdam, he recalls Palace's Mark Bright-Ian Wright strike pairing of the late 80s and early 90s.

"It feels pretty good, I was very excited," he said.

"I know Crystal Palace from when I was a kid, with Wright and Bright and I already live in London so it'll be fun to play again.

Bright future

"It's not about what I can offer the club - we have to do it together and make sure we have good spells and a bright future."

Davids spoke with manager George Burley earlier this week and although he made his name as a tenacious midfielder, 'the Pitbull' is willing to play in various positions for Palace.

"I can play left-back, I can play midfield and I can play left or right wing - it's up to where the team needs me, and I just want to enjoy myself," he added.

"I was already retired but I talked with some friends and with George. He was excited and he said just to have fun, give it your all and see what it leads to."

Burley had said on Thursday that Davids was a long way from agreeing terms with Palace but a deal was quickly struck.

"We spoke to Edgar and had a meeting with him earlier in the week," Burley told the club's official website.

"The boy felt enthusiasm and he has been training with Ajax but now it's good to see us agree terms with him."