Villa will spend big again if they avoid rel­e­ga­tion, says Smith

The Daily Telegraph - Business - - Sport Football - By John Percy

As­ton Villa are fac­ing a cru­cial night in their sur­vival mis­sion, with Dean Smith re­veal­ing that the club are pre­pared to spend big again if they stay in the Premier League.

Smith is pre­par­ing for a huge en­counter at home to Arse­nal as his team run out of time to avoid a swift re­turn to the Cham­pi­onship.

Villa are third from bot­tom, three points adrift of safety, and a heavy de­feat by Mikel Arteta’s resur­gent team will al­most cer­tainly sen­tence them to rel­e­ga­tion ahead of their fi­nal game against West Ham on Sun­day. But they could move out of the bot­tom three tonight with vic­tory and a heavy de­feat for Wat­ford by Manch­ester City in the ear­lier game. Yet Smith is op­ti­mistic and in­sists that the club’s fi­nan­cial future will be safe in the event of them drop­ping out of the top tier.

Villa’s bil­lion­aire own­ers, Nassef Sawiris and Wes Edens, have spent more than £135 mil­lion on the squad this sea­son, and Smith said sig­nif­i­cant funds would be avail­able if the club scram­bled to safety.

“We are thank­ful we have two bil­lion­aire own­ers who have am­bi­tions of im­prov­ing this club,” he said. “If we re­main in the league then we have cer­tainly got the power to com­pete with some of the other big clubs. We want to do it for them as much as any­one.”

Sawiris and Edens com­pleted their takeover in July 2018 and have since spent more than £250 mil­lion on play­ers and in­fra­struc­ture. It is un­der­stood they were pre­pared to put in more but are re­stricted by fi­nan­cial fair play rules.

Smith said: “The short-term future of the club will not be in jeop­ardy. If we get rel­e­gated it’s one of those things we have to deal with.

“You’ll al­ways have people that want to put you down, so the job is to prove people wrong. We be­lieve we have enough in the dress­ing room, and we have to prove that.”

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