By Harry Sykes

Tony Xia is confident Aston Villa can secure a place in the Premier League top-six within the next five years.

The Villa owner took to Twitter on Thursday afternoon to outline his ambitions for the struggling Championship club.

Responding to a report of a Steve Bruce interview in which the manager said he would be “happy” if the Midlands outfit were an established Premier League team in five years and that a place in the top six or seven had “got to be the aim”, businessman Xia went even further.

“That’s something we should be able to make,” Xia said on his personal Twitter account. “I hope we can make higher.”

Villa are going to have to wait until at least the 2018-19 season before returning to the Premier League after their hopes of an instant return to the top flight went up in smoke in February.

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Bruce replaced Roberto Di Matteo at Villa Park in October and initially oversaw a revival before a crippling set of results either side of the new year effectively ended the club’s promotion hopes.

Villa have won five of their last six matches to climb to 12th in the Championship table but are 11 points adrift of Sheffield Wednesday, who are sixth and in the final promotion spot.

Xia has funded a huge revamp in the last two transfer windows after little spending in the final years of the Randy Lerner era.

Ex-manager Di Matteo was handed a big kitty to make changes in the last summer window and then Bruce was able to do the same in January.

Bruce sanctioned a squad refurbishment worth nearly £30million as big-money signings Scott Hogan, Henri Lansbury, Birkir Bjarnason, Conor Hourihane, James Bree arrived, while Sam Johnstone joined on loan from Manchester United.

Villa are next in action on Saturday when they host Norwich, another former Premier League club who are set to miss out on promotion, at Villa Park.

In other Aston Villa transfer news, talks are to get underway as a proven Premier League performer wants to join the Midlands club.

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