Randy Lerner’s £3 million farmhouse has been made available in another clear sign Aston Villa are heading for a summer takeover.
Lerner’s property in Bodymoor Heath is being offered to the consortium bidding to complete an £150m deal at the end of this season.
The converted farmhouse with almost 16 acres of land, based near Villa’s training ground in North Warwickshire, is part of the overall package that Lerner has proposed to the party interested in buying the Midlands club.
The consortium are now in due diligence and have been given access to the club’s ‘data room’, with the intention of taking charge in the summer and ending Lerner’s nine-year reign.
The small international group, led by one major investor and a number of backers from around the world, have signed a non-disclosure agreement and are determined to keep their identities secret.
Links with American investment bankers Todd Boehly and Henry Silverman have been dismissed, but talks are said to be progressing smoothly and the takeover is expected to accelerate once Villa’s Premier League future is known.
Villa remain in danger of relegation to the Championship under manager Tim Sherwood and are only three points clear of the bottom three.
Sherwood faces a tough trip to Manchester United on Saturday before a potentially pivotal home game against Queens Park Rangers the following Tuesday.
Relegation would severely harm Lerner’s asking price – it is understood the £150m fee could even be halved – but the consortium would still be interested in buying the club.
However, Sherwood has masterminded an upturn in mood since his appointment and is also preparing for a FA Cup semi-final at Wembley next month, against the winners of the replay between Liverpool and Blackburn Rovers.
The potential new owners have not made their intentions clear on the futures of Sherwood as yet, or chief executive Tom Fox, who joined from Arsenal at the start of the season.
Fox has made a significant impact off the field since his arrival but was a Lerner appointment and could be facing an uncertain summer.
Lerner’s departure would end an association of nearly nine years, after he bought the club from Doug Ellis in 2006 for around £62.6m.
At the end of last season he confirmed his decision to put the former European Cup winners up for sale, admitting “the last several seasons have been week-in, week-out battles.”