Steve Bruce encouraged after receiving positive news on Aston Villa's playing budget
Steve Bruce is ready to fight on at Villa after being informed of his playing budget for next season.
The 57-year-old is understood to have received positive assurances on the troubled club’s future direction after board members held crunch talks on Tuesday.
Bruce was not present at the meeting, chaired by chief commercial officer Luke Organ, but was later informed of the surprisingly bright outlook by Steve Round, the club’s technical director.
Though the budget is reduced from last season, the cuts are not so severe as feared and both Bruce and Round are now more confident of being able to build a team that can be competitive in the Championship next term.
Some sources have even suggested Villa, who have been suffering from an acute cash crisis, are ready to fight to keep star man Jack Grealish.
Despite this development, an element of uncertainty still surrounds Bruce’s position, chiefly due to owner Tony Xia’s failure to give the manager any public backing.
Bruce had been linked with the vacant managerial job at Leeds, now set to be filled by Marcelo Bielsa. There were even reports he could walk away from the club should his budget be slashed too sharply. That scenario, at least, now seems unlikely.
News of Tuesday’s positive meeting came just a week after Villa’s very future was plunged into doubt due to a cash crisis that saw them threatened with a winding-up order by HMRC.
There remain many unanswered questions about Xia’s ability to effectively fund Villa, though sources have suggested the owner has enough resources to see the club through the next few weeks.
Yet it has emerged EFL chief executive Shaun Harvey will meet with club officials next week, in order to establish their future plans.
Keeping his promise on the playing budget will depend on Xia engineering a more dependable cashflow from China than in recent months. It has been claimed the owner, who is eager to remain in control of the club, has been seeking outside investment.
Villa have, meanwhile, vowed to defend themselves against any legal action brought by former chief executive Keith Wyness.
The 60-year-old is understood to be suing for constructive dismissal, an action which could cost Villa more than £6million.
In a statement formally confirming Wyness’s exit, Villa stated they will be “happy to defend” legal proceedings if called on to do so.
Wyness was initially suspended last week, on the same day news of the missed tax payment emerged. It is understood he and Xia had clashed over the best way to deal with Villa's financial issues.
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