Aston Villa owner Dr Tony Xia has reportedly claimed that he does not wish to the sell the Championship club to American buyers, much to the shock of club officials.
Villa are in financial crisis after heavy spending since relegation has not yielded Premier League promotion. The club came close to achieving their goal by reaching the Championship play off final, but a narrow loss saw the vast riches that come with winning that game go to Fulham.
Xia, who bought Villa from previous owner Randy Lerner in 2016, later issued a statement explaining that the club faces 'severe FFP challenges' in 2018/19 and warning that a lot must change, financially, ahead of the forthcoming campaign.
Villa were later threatened with the possibility of an HMRC winding up order and administration over an unpaid tax bill that also led to the dismissal of chief executive Keith Wyness.
Billionaire businessman Xia, who is unable to simply inject his own cash into the club, found the money to keep the wolves from the door, but Villa are ill prepared to mount another promotion campaign come August as they are faced with selling key players instead of strengthening.
Xia has been searching for new investment, either by selling a stake in the club or selling outright, and there was reported interest from American businessman Peter Freund, a huge sports fan with baseball teams already in his portfolio, over a possible £75m takeover.
There has now been further talk of interest from 'an American group'. However, the Daily Mirror has reported that Xia remains unwilling and reluctant to deal with American investors as a result of the worsening relations between the United States and his native China.
US president Donald Trump has imposed import tariffs on Chinese goods that are due to come into effect this month and there are fears that tit-for-tat retaliations could result in a trade war between the two global superpowers.