Aston Villa: New owner Tony Xia wants club to be as well known as 'Madrid or Barcelona'

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New Aston Villa boss Roberto Di Matteo vows to make changes

Aston Villa's new owner Tony Xia hopes that the Midlands club will be as well known around the world as Real Madrid or Barcelona inside five years.

The Chinese businessman, 39, outlined his ambitions at a Villa Park press conference on Wednesday.

"I hope in five years, or after five years, we will talk of this club as Madrid or Barcelona," he told BBC WM.

"Or someone else as well known and accepted by people in the world to say 'oh, that's the greatest club'".

Former Everton chief executive Keith Wyness is to become the club's new chief executive, subject to Football League approval when he appears before a panel on Thursday.

"This is a new challenge," added Dr Xia. "I am looking forward to working with Roberto, Keith and everyone else. I want to take this club back to the right place. We will do whatever we can to support Robbie."

Elphick to become Villa's first summer signing?

Dr Xia was seated alongside new Villa manager Roberto Di Matteo, who revealed that he hopes his first summer signing will be Bournemouth defender Tommy Elphick.

The 29-year-old centre-half has discussed personal terms on a £3m deal.

Tommy Elphick was part of the Bouremouth team that won 2-1 at Villa Park in April

Villa have also confirmed the appointment of former Chelsea and Liverpool assistant manager Steve Clarke to the backroom team.

Former West Bromwich Albion and Reading boss Clarke, 52, will become Di Matteo's number two, with Kevin Bond, Harry Redknapp's long-time assistant, the other key part of his dressing room as first-team coach.

Villa need to rebuild - Di Matteo

Di Matteo admits he has a big rebuilding job on following Villa's return to the second tier of English football for the first time since 1988.

Dr Xia has already stated that Di Matteo will have between "£30 to 40m" to spend on new players.

But Di Matteo has inherited a team who won just three games last season to be relegated from the Premier League.

And he faces a tough task if he is to emulate the achievement of Graham Taylor, who led Villa to promotion in his first season in charge, when he took over as Villa boss in 1987.

New Aston Villa manager Roberto Di Matteo and owner Tony Xia held their first press conference at Villa Park
New Villa manager Roberto Di Matteo and owner Tony Xia held their first press conference at Villa Park

"I know it will be difficult," said Di Matteo. "It's a rebuilding job and I have to turn things around.

"The objective is to get promotion this year. But we need to turn a team that has struggled into a strong competitive team. All aspects need to be looked at.

"We need a united group, people who are willing to fight for the club in the Championship. But, with the right personnel we can do well.

"The last three or four years it has been a club in decline and relegation last season topped that off. It will take time to sort the team out. We want results yesterday instead of today."

BBC WM's Mark Regan on the new Villa regime

"Well, there's no denying the extent of the new Aston Villa owners' ambition. Dr Tony Xia says he'd like to see Villa up there with Real Madrid and Barcelona within 5 years. Ambitious stuff!

"Such words can be easy to say but, while many may think he should be more realistic in his statements, I'd ask 'what's wrong with a bit of dreaming'?

New Villa owner Tony Xia was interviewed by BBC WM's Mark Regan
New Villa owner Tony Xia was interviewed at Villa Park by BBC WM's Mark Regan

"He's a man full of enthusiasm that has just taken over a club that has known nothing but suffering for years, culminating in relegation last season. So I, at least for one, will forgive him a bit of exuberance, while knowing those words could come back to haunt him if things go wrong.

"Villa fans now have some hope, something that's been sadly lacking in recent times. A new owner, a new manager and a new era await.

"I know in football it's the hope that can hurt the most at times. However, to be around a club without it is a soulless existence. Under Xia, it feels like we are all in for an exciting ride whatever happens, so why not reach for the stars?"

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