Villa owner Lerner seeks to reassure fans over sale plan
07 July 2014, 17:03
London - Aston Villa owner Randy Lerner told fans that his efforts to sell the club would not disrupt its preparation for the English Premier League season.
The American announced in May that the club was up for sale but has failed to find a buyer and the chances of clinching a deal before the season kicks off next month are receding.
"Given that no agreement has as of yet been reached, I feel that it is time now to turn my full attention back to Villa matters at hand," said Lerner, former owner of the Cleveland Browns NFL team.
"While the sale process has been productive and remains ongoing, my priority at this point in the summer, heading into the upcoming season, is that the Villa organisation's sole focus be football - undistracted by any sales process," he added in a statement issued as the team's players returned for pre-season training.
The asking price for Villa is in the region of 150-200 million pounds ($255-340 million) and is a test of investor appetite for middle-ranking Premier League teams.
Villa finished 15th in the Premier League last season, dangerously close to the relegation zone.
They have hired former Manchester United midfielder Roy Keane to work as assistant to manager Paul Lambert and fans will be looking for signings to bolster the playing squad.
Based in the city of Birmingham, Villa have won the English title seven times but the last of those triumphs came in 1981. They won the European Cup in the following season and their last major trophy was the League Cup in 1996.