New owner plans to make Aston Villa a top club

Beijing, May 20 (IANS) Chinese businessman Xia Jiantong, the new owner of Aston Villa, said his goal is to make the English football club one of the top clubs in Europe.

Xia is the chairman and owner of Recon Group. He was amongst the initial 25 highly rated graduates out of 1,000 invited back by the Chinese government after spending six years at Harvard and MIT including five months exchange with Oxford University, reports Xinhua.

“Our initial payment is 75 million pounds ($109.2 million), and the total payment could mount to more than 100 million pounds ($145.7 million) if the team can stay in the Premier League for 3 years.” Xia said.

Talking about the new manager of the team, Xia said that they will decide among six candidates including former Leicester City manager Nigel Pearson and former Chelsea manager Roberto Di Matteo.

Xia said he wanted Villa to be one of the top clubs in Europe in 10 years. Villa were relegated from the Premier League this season.

“Our immediate objective is to return to the Premier League”, Xia said, “We will spend around 50 million pounds ($72 million) this summer to achieve this goal.”

“And then we want to have the club finish in the top six within 3 years, bringing European football back to Villa Park. Our long-term plan is to make Aston Villa one of the top clubs in Europe, it will take 8 to 10 years.”

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