How are the West Midlands sides progressing under their new owners?

New owner Dr Tony Xia during the press conference

We grade the new owners at Aston Villa, Birmingham City, West Bromwich Albion and Wolverhampton Wanderers.

Aston Villa

It was never going to be an easy job taking over at a deflated and dysfunctional Villa Park.

Dr Tony Xia did breathe fresh life into the club with money to spend and – whether you enjoy it or not – his outspoken presence on social media.

After the ill-fated appointment of Roberto Di Matteo, Xia opted for the more sensible option of former Hull City manager Steve Bruce. Although his style of football isn't the prettiest, Bruce does seem to be a better fit to push Villa up the table.

Xia will now have to operate under the tight restrictions of Financial Fair Play regulations and the added pressures of a second season in the Championship. Big challenges lie ahead.

Grade: B

Birmingham City

The sacking of Gary Rowett – and subsequent appointment of Gianfranco Zola - was nothing short of a disaster start for Paul Suen and Trillion Trophy Asia. Luckily, the Blues new owners turned to experienced manager Harry Redknapp just in time to save the club from the turmoil of relegation.

With the former Tottenham and Portsmouth boss signed up for next season, Birmingham’s owners can continue to make a mends for Rowett’s sacking by supporting Redknapp’s ambitions in the transfer window.

Grade: C

West Bromwich Albion

It has been business as usual at the Hawthorns.

Guochuan Lai appears to have let Head Coach Tony Pulis and Chairman John Williams run the club with little interference. This smooth transition behind the scenes has only benefited West Brom on the pitch, as they sealed their first top-half finish since 2013.

The impending summer transfer window will be a big indicator of Lai’s ambitions. Albion’s threadbare squad needs serious investment if they intend on pushing up the table or mounting a cup run. Anything less would suggest little change from the reserved approach under Jeremy Peace. 

Grade: A-

Wolverhampton Wanderers

Plenty of hype surrounded the supposed bottomless pockets of the Fosun Group when they arrived at Wolves.

The signings of Helder Costa and Ivan Cavaleiro suggested Fosun were willing to fund an instant push for promotion. However, the surprise appointment of Walter Zenga got the club’s season off to a disappointing start. Paul Lambert later came in to do a respectable job and lead Wolves to safety.

The Fosun now have to clear up the future of Lambert and identify several targets give Wolves a chance of challenging for a top-six place. There are also the continued concerns over super-agent Jorge Mendes’ role at the club.

Grade: B

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