A Chinese consortium is reported to be looking to complete a takeover straight after next month's FA Cup final.
Aston Villa’s long-drawn-out search for new owners could at last be nearing an end, with the Daily Mirror reporting that a prosperous Chinese consortium is planning to complete a takeover following next month’s FA Cup final.
The group are said to have had representatives in England in recent weeks and even toured the club ahead of finalising a deal at the start of June.
Talks have also been held with Midlands rivals West Bromwich Albion as a back-up plan, with the Villa takeover dependent on Premier League survival, but the latter’s larger stadium and fanbase is believed to make them the more appealing purchase, albeit at a steeper price.
Crystal Palace have been named as a potential option for the consortium too, having recently held talks after hitting a snag in their deal with US businessman Josh Harris, but co-chairman Steve Parish is claimed to have raised his £90 million asking price following the team’s stellar run of form under new manager Alan Pardew.
Villa, meanwhile, have been linked to a host of prospective buyers since want-away owner Randy Lerner put the team up for sale in May 2014 but the American businessman’s move to lower to his demands from £200 million to around £150 million in recent months suggests he has struggled to find concrete interest.
The Chinese group are in fact though to be the only serious bidders in for Villa but would be willing to spend the extra for a supposed “bigger club” than either Palace or West Brom.
Their interest also comes after the claret and blues have made concerted efforts to increase their footprint in China in recent years, having launched several official media channels and broken into the top 12 most followed European clubs on Sina Weibo – the Chinese equivalent of Twitter.
Of course, Asian investment has not gone terribly well for arch rivals Birmingham City but, with Lerner’s interest all but dead at this point, Villa remain desperate for new backers to help get the club back competing in the top-half of the table.
If the consortium in question can provide the funds without becoming overbearing then, with Tim Sherwood looking like he is the long-term answer as manager, they might just have a winning combination in the works.