By Tom Blackburn
Aston Villa’s new owner Tony Xia says he wants the club be in the same bracket as Real Madrid and Barcelona within five years.
The Chinese businessman has previously spoke of big transfer budgets, and has now outlined his ambitious plans following his takeover of the relegated club.
In an interview with the BBC, Xia said on Wednesday: “I hope in five years, or after five years, we will talk of this club as Madrid or Barcelona.
“Or someone else as well known and accepted by people in the world to say ‘oh, that’s the greatest club’.”
Xia’s comments echo those of Leicester chairman Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha, who raised eyebrows two years ago with his seemingly grandiose claims.
In 2014, following Leicesters’ promotion to the Premier League, the Thai owner said he wanted the top-five target to be reached within three seasons.
This season, the Midlands club surpassed those expectations by winning the title for the first time in club’s history.
Alongside Dr Xia was new manager Roberto Di Matteo, who revealed he hoped his first signing would be Bournemouth defender Tommy Elphick.
The 29-year-old centre-half has discussed personal terms on a £3m deal.
Earlier this summer Xia pledged to spend £30-40million on the playing squad, after he bought the club from American Randy Lerner.
Villa are hoping to bounce back from relegation to this season with an instant return to the Premier League, after an abysmal display in the league this season that saw them finish 17 points adrift of safety.
In other Aston Villa news, Di Matteo is ready to bring in a £12million striker.