Tony Xia: Aston Villa are not for sale
Chairman Tony Xia has broken his silence and declared Villa are not for sale.
In an extensive, 800-word statement posted on Villa’s website on Friday night, Xia also gave a public backing to manager Steve Bruce, who he claims has his “full support”.
Xia confirmed he is seeking minority investment and that he had rejected “numerous approaches” including the offer for a 30 per cent stake in the club, thought to have come from a US consortium.
But he denied turning down another bid, for a 51 per cent stake, while insisting any offers of support will be considered “extremely carefully.”
Failure to win promotion to the Premier League last season triggered a cash crisis for Xia and Villa narrowly avoided being hit with a winding-up order after missing a tax payment.
In the statement, Xia claimed to have made “significant investment” and that the club is “bank loan free” - though he did not state whether there are sufficient funds to meet this month’s financial obligations, which includes significant transfer instalments owed to other clubs.
The statement will be welcomed by supporters, who have demanded Xia communicate with them following a tumultuous few weeks, which has seen both chief executive Keith Wyness and director of football Steve Round depart the club.
In truth, however, the chairman’s words will do little to soothe their fears for the future, as he admits players must be sold in order to meet a £40million Financial Fair Play shortfall.
Xia is understood to have struggled to have effectively fund the club since last August.
In the statement, he declared: “For the avoidance of doubt, I remain a proud and committed owner of this football club and with that accept and embrace the responsibilities to the fans, players and staff.”
He continued: “Given the financial realities, it would be prudent of us to be open and receptive to any potential minority strategic investment that would aid our objectives to consolidate after a tumultuous summer and ultimately achieve our ambition of returning to the Premier League.
“We will be very selective in any discussions to ensure that the club’s best interests remain the focal point.”
Bruce’s future has also been the subject of much debate but Xia has confirmed for the first time, publicly, he wants the manager to stay.
He said: “I have had numerous conversations with Steve Bruce in recent weeks, which only reinforced how fortunate we are to have someone of his experience and standing in the game.
“His leadership will be important for us on the field, as a club and as a community and I thank him for his loyalty.
"These qualities will be essential as we begin a new season with the fresh hope and expectation it inevitably brings."