Aston Villa chairman Steve Hollis 'close to finalising sale of club'
Aston Villa chairman Steve Hollis is in China to finalise the sale of the club, Press Association Sport understands.
Hollis, who was appointed in mid-January, has been working on a deal to sell Villa for several weeks and it is hoped an announcement might be forthcoming.
Four buyers had expressed an interest in the club but Hollis has focused on the Chinese consortium and talks have reached an advanced stage - s o much so that the potential new owners are understood to want to pick the club's new manager.
Former MK Dons, West Brom and Chelsea boss Roberto Di Matteo is reportedly their preferred choice - there are suggestions the Italian's representatives have already been contacted about their client succeeding Remi Garde at Villa Park.
Former Leicester manager Nigel Pearson has also been mentioned as an option for a club who are looking to make an immediate return to the Barclays Premier League.
The news will be welcomed by Villa supporters, who have grown frustrated with current owner Randy Lerner, who has been looking to sell the club since 2014.
Fans staged several protests against Lerner this season, voicing their anger at the club's decline under the American, which culminated with Villa being relegated for the first time in 29 years.
A supporters group began an 'Out the door on 74' campaign, where some fans left during the home matches against Everton, Tottenham and Chelsea, making a stand after 74 minutes of play to symbolise the club's formation in 1874.
Nearer the end of the season, fans held up placards reading 'Proud History What Future?'