Chinese group buys Aston Villa
London, May 19
Aston Villa have been sold to a Chinese group owned by Dr Tony Jiantong Xia, the Championship club announced on Wednesday, in a deal worth a reported $86 million.
Villa crashed out of the Premier League after a miserable season that saw the Midlands team win just three of their 38 matches, but that hasn’t stopped Dr Xia making his move. US-based owner Randy Lerner had been trying to sell Villa for two years and has finally found a buyer after significantly lowering his asking price to a reported $86 million.
“Aston Villa Football Club is pleased to announce that an agreement has been signed today for the sale of 100 per cent ownership by Randy Lerner to Recon Group owned by Dr Tony Jiantong Xia subject to the approval of the Premier League and the Football League,” a Villa statement read.
Lerner, who bought Villa in 2006 for around £60 million, had hoped to sell the club for £200 million, but the team’s dismal form over the last two seasons put off potential investors until his price cut. Villa chairman Steve Hollis flew to China to complete the deal as soon as their woeful top-flight campaign was completed last weekend. Villa are currently managerless after sacking Remi Garde in March, but former Leicester boss Nigel Pearson and ex-Chelsea chief Roberto Di Matteo are reportedly the leading candidates to step in now a takeover has been agreed.
Dr Xia and the new manager will take charge with Villa condemned to second tier action for the first time since 1987-88 and with morale among supporters at an all-time low after months of protests against Lerner and the underperforming players. “The Club will announce appointment of a new manager shortly,” the club said.