Aston Villa Sold to Dr. Tony Xia: Latest Details, Comments, Reaction

Christopher Simpson@@CJSimpsonBRFeatured ColumnistMay 18, 2016

BIRMINGHAM, ENGLAND - MAY 07:  A general view of the stadium prior to the Barclays Premier League match between Aston Villa and Newcastle United at Villa Park on May 7, 2016 in Birmingham, United Kingdom.  (Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)
Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

Aston Villa have been sold to Chinese businessman Dr. Tony Jiantong Xia, the club announced on Wednesday.

The club confirmed the news in a statement on their official website:

Aston Villa Football Club is pleased to announce that an agreement has been signed today for the sale of 100% 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. Once those approvals have been granted and the new board members approved under the fit & proper rules of both leagues, Dr. Xia will become Chairman of Aston Villa. The Club will announce the appointment of a new manager shortly.

Sky Sports' Pete Colley (h/t Sky Sports' Kaveh Solhekol) gave an estimate of the cost involved in buying the club:

Kaveh Solhekol @SkyKaveh

From @petecolley - Chinese businessman Dr Tony Zia to buy Aston Villa for £60-70m. Deal could be done within the hour #avfc

The takeover ends Randy Lerner's 10-year spell as owner of the club, which culminated in their relegation from the Premier League this season.  

Sky Sports News HQ noted Roberto Di Matteo could become the new manager in question:

AVFC Goals @avfcgoals

The club ownership has changed hands. Randy Lerner OUT. Dr Tony IN! #AVFC https://t.co/4N7ijoTQKe

According to the statement, Xia is a long-time Aston Villa fan and played football in college, with the sport remaining "his passion" in the years since—which was not lost on Bleacher Report UK's Sam Tighe:

Sam Tighe @stighefootball

"Dr Xia played football as a striker until he finished at college." New #AVFC chairman and owner. Knows the game, is a football man etc.

Further, he has great ambitions for his new club: "Dr. Xia's immediate objective is to return Aston Villa to the Premier League and then to have the club finish in the top six, bringing European football back to Villa Park. He plans to make Aston Villa the most famous football club in China with a huge fan base."

The Daily Mail's Tim Nichols believes the Villa Park faithful will welcome the news of the takeover:

Tim Nichols @TimNicholsDM

At last some good news for Villa fans. Pleased for them. Fans powerless when it comes to ownership and 'fit and proper' test has no...

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Tim Nichols @TimNicholsDM

...bearing on whether you end up with a Lerner/Gaydamak/Glazer or a Mansour/Abramovich

Meanwhile, Football365's Daniel Storey believes the club now have a strong chance of contending promotion from the Championship next season:

Daniel Storey @danielstorey85

Aston Villa sale confirmed. If Benitez stays at Newcastle too, the Championship is going to be harder than ever to escape from next season.

Per Rob Harris of the Associated Press, little is known about the Recon Group:

Rob Harris @RobHarris

Aston Villa sold to Chinese company Recon Group owned by Dr Tony Jiantong Xia. Little around about the company

Villa may have attempted to address that with background information on the consortium in their statement: "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."

Xia faces no small task in taking charge at the west Midlands club—particularly if they're to meet his ambitions of top-six finishes and European football.

Promotion back to the Premier League will be the priority first and foremost, though, and this could spark a series of sweeping changes at the club this summer as they prepare to take the Championship by storm.


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