sport

Lerner still keen to aid Villa

Aston Villa owner Randy Lerner is adamant his intended sale of the Premier League club will not affect manager Paul Lambert's pre-season preparations.

Lerner announced in May that he was looking for a buyer for Villa after eight years in control of the club.

The American businessman has already had talks with Lambert about the ongoing situation but feels it is important that speculation over the future ownership of the club does not overshadow the build-up to the forthcoming season.

"This statement is intended to provide clarity regarding the status of the sale announcement I made in early May," Lerner said.

"Over the last eight weeks we conducted a targeted process during which we explored the sale of the club.

"In advance of this process however, I committed to our manager to become completely focused on the upcoming season should there be no agreement to sell by the time players and coaches return to training.

"Given that no agreement has, as of yet, been reached, I feel that it is time now to turn my full attention back to Villa matters at hand.

"While the sale process has been productive and remains ongoing, my priority at this point in the summer, heading into the upcoming season, is that the Villa organisation's sole focus be football - undistracted by any sales process.

"Reverting to common practice, I do not intend to comment further on a potential sale or related rumours unless and until I have reached a definitive agreement to sell, at which time I will be prompt and clear."

Although Villa are on the market for potential buyers, the club have been busy during the off-season, signing midfielder Joe Cole and defender Philippe Senderos, as well as appointing Roy Keane as assistant manager.