Cash-strapped Aston Villa facing summer fire sale of top stars - expert warns
Villa still face a likely fire sale of star players despite staving off the immediate threat of administration, a corporate finance expert has warned.
The club yesterday confirmed they had reached agreement with HMRC over an unpaid tax bill, which had almost seen them subjected to a winding-up order.
Yet the situation remains serious, with the club still embroiled in a cash crisis and requiring funds to meet outgoings which have been estimated at around £5million a month.
Payments of £6million and £2million, the final instalments of transfer fees for Ross McCormack and James Chester, are also due to be paid to Fulham and Albion respectively this summer.
Publicly, the club remain bullish they will not be held to ransom over Jack Grealish, upon whom they have slapped a £30million price tag.
But Paul Bennett, a senior partner at Black Country-based law firm George Green, believes the public nature of Villa’s struggles means club may now struggle to command that kind of fee.
Tottenham have been linked with a swoop for Grealish, with reports claiming they will make an initial offer of only £15million for the 22-year-old ace.
Bennett, who has football expertise having worked on a fan takeover at Port Vale, explained: “The trouble is everyone knows the difficulty Villa are now in. They know they need the money so will be looking to get players on the cheap.
“There is also the factor of the transfer window closing earlier this year, so there is even more pressure on Villa.
"It would really not make sense for a club who might want to buy one of their players, coming in and offering the money they are demanding.
“The club has a number of obligations. They have a huge wage bill and there are transfer fees still owed to other clubs.
“At the moment, the money they have to spend is greater than they have coming in. That position cannot continue.
"One would hope there is being a sensible plan put together."
The Express & Star understands a group of wealthy supporters who were prepared to provide financial assistance have yet to hear back from the club.
The group approached owner Tony Xia, who has been struggling to fund Villa effectively for several months, with their offer of support.