Money talk puts Villa in big league

By Graham Hill

AMID the euphoria of Villa winning promotion back to the Premier League at Wembley, there were a few nuggets of quotes for anyone who wonders if they can stay there.

Interviews on Sky Sports with boss Dean Smith, chief executive Christian Purslow and owners Wes Edens and Nassef Sawiris made it clear that the club are going to spend big in the top flight.

At the last count, American tycoon Edens – who also co-owns the Milwaukee Bucks – was worth a cool $1.65billion.

Egyptian Sawiris is said to be worth £5.1billion – as his brother Naguib.

Putting that into perspective, Liverpool owner John W. Henry’s estimated worth is $2.6billion.

Arsenal’s Stan Kroenke is said to worth $8billion; the Glazer family at Manchester United, $4.9billion; Leicester’s Srivaddhanaprabha family, $5.1billion; Wolves supremo Guo Guangchang, $7.5billion; Joe Lewis and Daniel Levy at Spurs have a combined worth of $6billion.

Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich is said to be worth $12billion and no-one comes near Manchester City’s Sheikh Mansour’s $38billion.

But Villa find themselves not only promoted – but playing in the same ball park as some of the Premier League’s pacesetters.

Villa officials almost seemed to delight in telling TV viewers how much they have to spend, insisting: The sky’s the limit.

Smith said: “The two owners we have now have got a lot of money, they’re in it for the long haul. The potential now for the club going up is massive.”

Purslow appeared genuinely excited about the prospect of what market Villa could be dealing in this summer.

He added: “We’re probably a year ahead of plan. Now we can really crack on with our plan to get this club right back to the top of British football.”

And Sawiris made no secret of what he and Edens want to do with Villa – knowing that a long-term stay in the top flight is worth far more than the £170million guaranteed by beating Derby County.

Sawiris said: ‘Our ambition is not just to be promoted, but to do well in the Premier League.”

All of which suggests that Villa will be able to hold on to Jack Grealish as long as performances on the field match his own ambitions next season.

Tyrone Mings should now make his loan move from Bournemouth a permanent one. Anwar El Ghazi looks like doing something similar in terms of moving from Lille to Villa.

And a move for Chelsea striker Tammy Abraham could now be on the cards but Axel Tuanzebe could be needed back at Manchester United next season.

Some of the heroes of the past three months – such as Glenn Whelan – may not see their contracts renewed.

Some up and coming talent such as Liverpool’s Ryan Kent, Neal Maupay at Smith’s former club Brentford, and Luton defender James Justin appear to be Villa targets.

And any concerns about John McGinn leaving have now been put to bed.

But you have to wonder if a couple of marquee signings could be on the way? The Villa owners and officials certainly seemed to have knowing smiles on their faces when they were talking about the club’s ambitions.

The struggles of three years ago when Villa were relegated under the ownership of a disinterested Randy Lerner now appear to be a distant memory.

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