Quest for transfer funds holds up Villa consortium

The consortium bidding to take control of Aston Villa admit the struggle to provide David O’Leary with a substantial transfer kitty has been a key reason behind the stop-start nature of their takeover attempt.

Lifelong Villa fan Michael Neville, who is fronting the attempt by Irish builders the Comer Brothers to buy out chairman Doug Ellis, claimed the bid was making “extremely slow” progress.

Leading shareholder Ellis is believed to be seeking assurances that a large pot of money will be available to manager O’Leary for signing new players before he relinquishes control.

Neville told the Birmingham Mail: “You cannot buy a football club unless you feel you can generate cash for players, for the manager’s transfer budget and the like.

“You can if you are Roman Abramovich – but there are not many like Abramovich.

“I was in London with the bank all day on Thursday. We are making progress, albeit extremely slow progress. The transaction is lengthy and complex.”

But Neville insisted: “I am still optimistic that a deal can be done.

“We have got a pretty good feel for the club and I am confident we can turn this club round. I am confident I can turn a loss-making club into a profitable one.”

Villa have appointed financial experts Rothschilds to help them find a buyer after the £64million takeover attempt by the Comers and Neville appeared to flounder.

But Neville claimed: “I do know that there are no other bidders. There could be somebody coming up on the side but, as far as I know, there’s nobody else.”

Villa spokesman Phil Mepham said: “The chairman has always made it clear that anybody coming into the club would only do so for the future good of the club and the company.

“Anybody coming in will have to have the best interests of Aston Villa at heart. The situation remains ongoing.”

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