New Aston Villa owner Tony Xia discusses transfer funds, Roberto Di Matteo links

Di Matteo Shirt

The former Champions League-winning boss has been touted as the favourite to become Xia's first managerial appointment.

New Aston Villa owner Tony Xia has told BBC WM Sport that he is ready to give the recently relegated club’s next manager as much as £50 million to spend this summer and admitted that Roberto Di Matteo is a candidate for the job.

Xia was speaking on Thursday for the first time since agreeing a deal to buy Villa from Randy Lerner for a reported £60 million fee, subject to Football League approval.

The 39-year-old Chinese businessman, who says that the whole package actually cost him “over £100 million”, has been meeting with chairman Steve Hollis during the past few weeks and will take over his role once the deal is ratified.

He apparently became a Villa fan during the five months he spent at Oxford University in 2002 as an exchange student and is aiming to get the Midlands outfit back into the Premier League’s top six in less than five seasons.

His immediate objective, though, is securing promotion back to the top-flight at the first time of asking and plans to give the new manager ample resources to achieve that goal.

"Villa has a very great history and should be in the top six of the Premier League,” Xia told BBC WM Sport. "It's a very complex package for the whole deal, but it's over £100m. We will wait until we have the new manager until we decide on transfers.

"We will talk about all kinds of players and we'll discuss what we need with the coach. We could have a budget of £20m, £30m, £40m, £50m, it all depends.”

One of Xia’s first tasks as Villa owner will be to appoint a permanent successor to Remi Garde, who left the club in late March after just five months in charge, and recent reports have suggested that former Chelsea and West Bromwich Albion boss Di Matteo is the favourite [h/t Sky Sports].

Xia admitted that the Italian is in the running but stressed that he is one of at least two candidates for the role, which is expected to be filled within the next fortnight.

“We have our searching team working on the new manager,” he added. “Roberto is one, but we also have another very good choice. We will gather our information again.

"In two weeks, we will then be ready to decide who is the final one."

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