Takeover timeline: What can we expect and when?

Getty Images: Neville Williams

Now that Aston Villa is for sale, when can we reasonably expect the deal to be done?

As far as takeover announcements go, this is pretty much the worst possibility: Aston Villa are for sale, but there is no buyer in sight. There will, of course, be buyers. Aston Villa are a prestigious club–even if they've lost some of their luster recently–and football is a prestigious sport. Millionaires and billionaires will come flocking at the opportunity to own the club, but when will we actually see it sold?

Luckily, there is precedent for this with Aston Villa and with other clubs. Unluckily, it seems as if we may not have a final sale until at least June if the past is any indicator. In fact, July seems like a more likely date to get final word that everything is done.

In the last sale of the club, former chairman Doug Ellis announced on 14 August 2006 that he had agreed to sell Aston Villa to Randy Lerner. According to his statements today, Ellis had five different possible buyers, so it seems safe to assume that talks of selling began before that day. Already, we're looking at a couple of weeks. But after the sale was announced, it wasn't finalized until September 19, one month and five days later. Using a bit of rough estimation from the details that we don't know and that gives us somewhere between 45-60 days it took to begin and complete the sale of the club.

If we take that as a rough guide, Aston Villa could be sold by the beginning of July or thereabouts. While it seems as if that is an eternity away, it would still leave plenty of time for summer transfers to happen and for the club to actually work towards a new identity. In a World Cup year, in fact, a lot of movement won't happen until July anyway, so that sort of timeline wouldn't be terrible.

The risk, of course, is that the sale takes longer than that and Aston Villa are allowed to drift aimlessly throughout the summer. One can hope that Lerner already has some potential candidates lined up, but today's statement does little to make that seem likely. Hopefully the siren song of owning a football club will be enough to prompt a quick sale and we can all get on with trying to figure out how we'll fix this team over the summer.

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