Express & Star

Aston Villa post near £120million loss for 2022-23 season

Villa have reported a club record post-tax operating loss of nearly £120million for the 2022-23 season.

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The eye-watering figure is one of the largest losses ever recorded in a single financial year by a Premier League club and will further fuel speculation Villa must sell a star player early in the summer transfer window to avoid breaching spending rules.

Current profit and sustainability (PSR) regulations permit clubs to lose a maximum of £105m over a three-season cycle, though spending on youth development and infrastructure and women’s football can be subtracted from that figure.

Clubs were also permitted to deduct any losses due to Covid-19 costs during the pandemic-impacted 2019-20 and 2020-21 seasons, with any total profit or loss from those campaigns averaged out in the PSR calculation.

The £56m Villa are believed to have lost through Covid is a significant factor in them remaining within the rules despite reporting total losses of more than £185m for the 2020-23 period.

Yet the sheer scale of the £119.6m loss for the financial year ending May 31 last year, explains why the club were so restricted during the recent January transfer window, while calling into question their ability to remain within the limits this season. Villa recently extended their accountancy period for the current year through to June 30.

The club, backed by billionaire duo Nassef Sawiris and Wes Edens, continued to spend big during last summer’s transfer window, signing Moussa Diaby from Bayer Leverkusen for a £43m club record fee. Pau Torres also joined from Villarreal for £31m.

Those buys, with fees spread out over the length of each player’s contract, were mitigated by the sale of academy products Cameron Archer, Aaron Ramsey and Jaden Philogene for combined fees of more than £35m.

The huge loss last year follows a £400,000 profit made in the previous 2021-22 season, a figure helped by the then British record £100m sale of Jack Grealish to Manchester City.

The 2022-23 accountancy period includes the signings of Leander Dendoncker from Wolves for £13m, along with the captures of Alex Moreno (£13m) from Real Betis and Jhon Duran (£17m) from Chicago Fire after Unai Emery had replaced Steven Gerrard as head coach in November, 2022.

Those signings were a factor in the club’s wage bill increasing by nearly £60m from £137m to £194.2m, though a club statement also referenced “increases in central support functions to support growth” which resulted in a nine per cent increase in overall employee numbers.

Revenues increased by nearly £40m to £217.7m in part because of seventh-placed Premier League finish, though there were also improvements in gate receipts, sponsorship and commercial revenues.

A club statement read: “It is important to note that these figures are in line with the strategic business plan, and we continue to operate within the Premier League’s Profit and Sustainability rules.

“The owners of Aston Villa remain committed to the long-term and sustainable development of the club, and we look forward to continued progress on the delivery of our strategic plan.”