1. ITV Report

Aston Villa not for sale, owner Xia tells fans

Aston Villa owner Tony Xia insists he isn't looking to sell the club despite financial difficulties. Credit: PA

Tony Xia insists Aston Villa are not up for sale and boss Steve Bruce retains his support amid their current financial problems.

The Chinese owner wants a cash injection, with Villa in need of £40 million to comply with Financial Fair Play.

Villa missed a £4m tax payment earlier this month and another is due at the end of the week.

Documents on Companies House show Villa will allow shares to be sold and a restriction on their sale has been lifted.

And in a long statement on Friday, Xia admitted he is open to new investment and has turned down a number of offers.

"For the avoidance of doubt, I remain a proud and committed owner of this football club and with that accept and embrace the responsibilities to the fans, players and staff," Xia said.

"Of course, given the financial realities, it would be prudent of us to be open and receptive to any potential minority strategic investment that would aid our objectives to consolidate after a tumultuous summer and ultimately achieve our ambition of returning to the Premier League.

Aston Villa lost the Championship play-off final to Fulham in May. Credit: PA

"We will be very selective in any discussions to ensure that the club's best interests remain the focal point."

Xia is acting chief executive at Villa after the dismissal of Keith Wyness, who is suing Villa for constructive dismissal.

Villa are also due to meet with EFL chief executive Shaun Harvey soon with the league ready to offer what assistance it can.

The future of Bruce has been widely debated since Villa's costly play-off defeat to Fulham, but Xia said: "I have had numerous conversations with Steve Bruce in recent weeks, which only reinforced how fortunate we are to have someone of his experience and standing in the game.

"His leadership will be important for us on the field, as a club and as a community and I thank him for his loyalty."

Jack Grealish is likely to be sold to raise funds although the club are yet to receive an acceptable offer for a player they were hoping to get over £30m for.

Leicester were interested but made James Maddison their first choice and are expected to complete a £24m move for the Norwich man.

Jonathan Kodjia and James Chester could also leave as Villa cut costs.