Xia rethinks funding after Aston Villa’s play-off loss misses out on £160m payday

June 5 – Tony Xia (pictured), Aston Villa’s Chinese owner who bought the club from American Randy Lerner for £62 million in 2016, is looking for new funding for the club after failure to win the Championship play-off against Fulham that would have returned the club to the monied land of the Premier League.

That new funding could come in the form of a sale if a reported UK group of businessmen led by Matt Southall, a former player agent, and former Blackburn director of football operations, Paul Senior. It is unclear how serious they are and whether they have the funds or are just looking for a cheap deal.

Xia is reckoned to have spent £150 million since acquiring the Midlands giant in 2016 which had fallen on desperate times with relegation from the Premier League after season of profligate spending on players that failed to deliver results.

He may have managed to reverse the club’s downward trend but losing out on the guaranteed minimum of £160 million over three seasons that would have come with winning the play-off is a big blow.

The gamble on achieving promotion has left Villa needing to find £40 million to fall in line with financial fair play regulations. That will likely mean the sale of players with star attacking midfielder Jack Grealish being likely to leave the club he joined as a boy. The proce tag on him will likely be £30 million.

Villa have already let former and England and Chelsea captain John Terry and striker Gabby Agbonlahor go this summer and have said they will not be able to sign any of the five loan players they had last season on permanent deals.

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