English Premier League side, Aston Villa was on Wednesday bought by Chinese businessman Dr. Tony Jiantong Xia, in a deal worth a reported $86 million.
The midland club, which was acquired by American billionaire Randy Lerner, in 2006, was put on sale in 2014. Lerner had hoped to sell the club for £200 million, however the team’s poor performance over the last two seasons put off potential investors until his price cut.
The “Villains” will play in the Championship next season after crashing out of English Premier League following a disastrous season in which they won just three times this season.
“Aston Villa Football Club is pleased to announce that an agreement has been signed today for the sale of 100 percent ownership by Randy Lerner to Recon Group owned by Dr Tony Jiantong Xia subject to the approval of the Premier League and the Football League,” a Villa statement read.
“Once those approvals have been granted and the new board members approved under the fit and proper rules of both leagues, Dr Xia will become Chairman of Aston Villa.
“Randy Lerner has sought the right new owner for Aston Villa who would take great care of the Club and restore its fortunes. He believes that Tony Xia is an excellent choice.
“Recon Group is Dr Xia’s privately owned holding company that owns the controlling interest in five publicly listed companies on the Hong Kong and Chinese stock exchanges and many other private companies employing 35,000 people in 75 countries.”
The new owner, Dr. Xia has set his sights of taking Villa back into the Premier League’s top six and wants to make the English club “the most popular football club in China with a huge fan base.”
According to a club statement a new manager will be appointed “shortly”, with former Leicester boss Nigel Pearson and ex-Chelsea coach Roberto Di Matteo reportedly the leading contenders for the post.