Alan Hutton is today expected to sign a permanent contract with Real Mallorca, having negotiated his release from Aston Villa.

The Scotland full-back enjoyed a successful loan spell with the Palma club last season, and was eager to return, even though his side were relegated from the Spanish top tier.

Hutton still had a year to run on his Villa contract, but was told by manager Paul Lambert he was free to leave, his career having stalled somewhat since Tottenham Hotspur spent £9m to sign him from Rangers in 2008. He has, however, found both form and contentment in Spain. "I was able to play football and enjoy it – it's the first time I've been able to say that in a while," he said. "I don't know how to explain it. I had a few bad years so just to enjoy my football again was really good. It's a lot calmer."

Another Scotland internationalist keen to get his career back on track is Christophe Berra, who has signed a two-year contract with Ipswich Town. The centre-back was released by Wolverhampton Wanderers following consecutive relegations but manager Mick McCarthy moved to take him to Portman Road. "It's a fantastic signing, he helped 
us get promoted at Wolves and keep us in the Premier League for two seasons," said McCarthy.

"I'm surprised he hasn't got a club sooner and I'm delighted we've got him. It's terrific. I've signed 
what I'd call a top Championship centre-half."