There’s nothing new in an Aston Villa sale report, but this one has a twist.
According to Neil Moxley of the Sunday People, a sale agreement has reached an advanced stage as a UK-based ownership group prepares to acquire a majority stake in the club.
News that a domestic owner will be set to take over the club is sure to buoy fans who have seen a vast increase in overseas ownership of Premier League clubs over the past few years.
American majority owner Randy Lerner has bore much of the burden for the club’s decline over the past few years, with the team trending downwards after a promising start to his ownership tenure. Fans have hit back at Lerner for not investing in the club’s player pool, and it seems to have taken its toll.
Lerner sold the Cleveland Browns three years ago for upwards of $1 billion, and looks ready to dump the Premier League club too. The price has not been set in stone, with the club’s Premier League status not assured as of yet. The report seems to imply that a pair of arrangements have been agreed upon, contingent upon the club’s status for next season. Villa remains a precarious three points above the relegation zone, with newly appointed manager Tim Sherwood having boosted the squad’s performance.
According to Moxley, the sale will be for $223 million – over double the $94 million Lerner paid for the club back in 2007 – should Villa stay in the Premier League.
Although Lerner has denied it or simply avoided the question, UK media has steadfastly reported for nearly a year that Lerner put the team up for sale in May of 2014, and has been looking for a buyer since. Moxley’s report states that talks have been ongoing between Lerner and the current prospective buyer for a few months now. Due to the duality of the reported agreement contingent upon the club’s Premier League status, it’s likely any announcement would come after the conclusion of the season.
Aston Villa finished sixth in the Premier League table in each of the first three years Lerner was at the helm, but they fell to ninth in the 2010/11 season and have finished in the bottom quarter of the table every season since.