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Premier League Aston Villa rumoured to be subject of takeover

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Reports in the Daily Telegraph suggest Aston Villa are set for a £200 million takeover if they manage to stay in the Premier League.

According to the paper, it is understood an American consortium, fronted by two billionaires, wants to buy Villa but will withdraw from the deal if the team drop into the Championship.

Details of the consortium plotting to take control from American owner Randy Lerner are being kept private, with Villa's Premier League status on the line after four successive defeats. Survival in the top flight would guarantee Villa at least £40 million in television revenue and would mean the club remains attractive to sponsors.

Early indications suggest the consortium would be prepared to invest heavily in trying to significantly improve Villa's playing staff. It is unclear whether a takeover would affect the future of manager Paul Lambert.

Lambert has admitted Villa must change their policy of spending small fees on inexperienced youngsters and instead invest in strong players to avoid even more pain in the future.

Villa chief executive Paul Faulkner insisted the club were not for sale in February, but sources claim an agency based in the United States has been talking to potential buyers.

Lerner made a rare intervention this week by declaring his support for Lambert after assistant manager Ian Culverhouse and head of football Gary Karsa were suspended.

That move has been seen in some quarters as a desperate attempt by Lerner to try to help Villa avoid relegation and ensure the club remain an attractive proposition to interested parties.

Lerner paid £62.6 million for Villa eight years ago and has spent another £250 million on players and facilities. He would ideally want his money back but a £200 million offer would most likely be too good to refuse.

Villa's last accounts revealed the club lost £51.8 million in 2012-13 and that Lerner had waived £90.1 million of loans, converting them to equity.

Lerner initially invested huge sums to help former manager Martin O'Neill achieve top-six finishes, but he has since made big cutbacks. It is unclear whether Lerner has attended a Villa game this season, with the 52-year-old accused of being an absentee owner by the club's disgruntled fans.

Villa have a vital game at the weekend, at home to Southampton- a side Villa beat 3-2 earlier in the season. A win would give Villa 37 points and some breathing space from the bottom three.

KJ

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