Aston Villa: CEO Keith Wyness insists club can sign 'three or four' transfer targets

Keith Wyness and Steve Bruce
Keith Wyness appointed Steve Bruce as Villa manager in October 2016

Chief executive Keith Wyness says Aston Villa remain confident of making three or four signings this summer with the budget the Championship club has set.

One newspaper report claimed Villa had earmarked just £1m for new players, after heavy spending failed to earn them promotion to the Premier League.

Wyness did not reveal how much they would have to spend but said boss Steve Bruce understood the club's position.

"There are about three or four targets," he told BBC WM.

"We can easily achieve that with the budgets we have."

Villa spent £39m alone on strikers Jonathan Kodjia, Ross McCormack and Scott Hogan following their relegation from the top flight in 2015-16.

Wales defender James Chester, Albert Adomah, Mile Jedinak, Conor Hourihane, Henri Lansbury and Tommy Elphick were among 12 other additions.

Wyness dismissed reports that Bruce, who took over at Villa Park in October and guided the club to 13th in the Championship, had been surprised by his budget for next season.

"I've spoken with Steve and the words 'shocked' and 'stunned' didn't come to mind - [it's] maybe journalistic speak. Steve understands completely," he added.

"I'm already in discussions and active on a number of deals."

'Must do better'

Former Aberdeen and Everton chief executive Wyness, who joined Villa last summer under new owner Dr Tony Xia, said the club's hierarchy was aware performances needed to improve.

"There's no getting away from it, this summer is a key summer for Villa," he said.

"Thirteenth is just not acceptable, we know that. I think it's below a pass. We didn't achieve anywhere near the targets we set out for.

"However, 'must do better but there are promising signs' - I think that's the report card."

Steve Bruce's summer job list

Following the end-of-season release of injury-hit striker Libor Kozak, 28, whose contract officially expires on 20 June after just 11 league starts in four years, Villa manager Bruce still has other decisions to make.

Columbia midfielder Carlos Sanchez, 31, is another who will not be coming back, having played 41 games on his season-long loan with Fiorentina to automatically trigger a more permanent deal with the Italian Serie A side.

Goalkeeper Mark Bunn, 32, is at the end of a two-year deal which also expires on 30 June, while fellow keeper Pierliugi Gollini, 22, Villa's first-choice for the first four months of last season, remains on his 18-month loan to another Serie A side Atalanta.

Villa, who have been linked with 33-year-old Stoke City midfielder Glenn Whelan, are still hopeful of extending the stay of Manchester United keeper Sam Johnstone, 24, who was Bruce's first-choice keeper for the second half of last season, following his January loan move.

The club also have five former first-team regulars who finished last season out on loan - Aly Cissokho, 29 (Olympiakos), who has one year left on his contract, Carles Gil, 24 (Deportivo La Coruna), who has two years left, and three players who have three years left, Jordan Veretout (St Etienne), 24, and Ross McCormack, 30, and Aaron Tshibola, 22 (Nottingham Forest).

Defender Kevin Toner, 20, who has one year left, was on loan at Bradford City and midfielder Riccardo Calder, 21, at promoted Lincoln City.

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