Former Aston Villa player and manager Ron Atkinson has exclusively told GiveMeSport that it’s imperative the Midlands outfit get the right investor through the doors at Villa Park this summer in order to help the club become a competitive force in the Premier League once more.
Villa were put up for sale by their owner Randy Lerner last week. The American, who has been in control of the club since 2006, admitted he no longer feels he “can do the job”.
But Atkinson - famed for his stints managing the likes of Manchester United, West Bromwich Albion and, of course, the Villa - believes the future is bright for the club if they manage to attract the right investor.
“The club is in great shape with a fabulous stadium, great training facilities and crowd potential,” the 75-year-old told GiveMeSport.
Atkinson feels Aston Villa, who will stick by manager Paul Lambert despite another below-par campaign, can challenge the likes of Everton and Tottenham for a top-four finish if the new owner invests in the team. He also believes it’s essential that Villa recruit some players with star quality - the type of quality player that makes fans want to pay to watch their team play every weekend.
“I always believe Aston Villa should have some star players,” he added. “[Villa are] not in the top four category at the moment, but there’s no reason that, with a little investment, they can’t get there because they’re as big a club as Tottenham and Everton.
“It’s possible for them to get there but they need investment. All the investment should go into the team. They need big players at Villa Park because the crowd have been brought up on some outstanding players over the years and, at the moment, they haven’t got too many of those with that stardust.”
Few Aston Villa supporters would disagree. The club have now failed to finish higher than 15th position in the Premier League table in each of the past three seasons.
But that could change, according to Atkinson, if Lerner hands the keys to Villa Park to someone with deeper pockets.