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Alarm bells sounding for Everton

Everton
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By ESPN Staff

Ellis hopes Villa deal will be done soon

Doug Ellis is hopeful that an Aston Villa takeover will be completed 'in weeks rather than months'.

The Villa chairman is delighted to have pulled off the major coup of landing Martin O'Neill as manager and Ellis admits he is ready to sell if the deal is right for the club.

American billionaire Randy Lerner's consortium are expected to make a formal bid for Villa early next week - the favourites among four consortia vying to buy the club.

'As far as I'm concerned the negotiations are ongoing and hopefully it will come to pass in weeks rather than months,' Ellis told Sky Sports.

'I've made it very clear I'm prepared to sell. I'm 82 years old and I've had five operations since last year and I've got to be sensible. But nevertheless I will not walk away from Aston Villa.'

Asked if he hoped to stay on at Villa Park in some capacity if a takeover does go through in the near future, Ellis replied: 'If they want me to. In their own words, not mine, why throw away all that knowledge, experience and contacts?'

Meanwhile, O'Neill's reign as manager began in Germany where he watched his new charges battle their way to a goalless draw against Hanover 96.

'It was very useful for me to get out here and see the players in action,' he said afterwards.

'We've got just two weeks before starting the season with a massive game at Arsenal and I wanted to get to work as quickly as possible.

'It was just a watching brief for now. I spoke to the players briefly before the game but there was no point talking to them or talking at them for 30 or 40 minutes just before a game.

'That's the main positive for me, that I got to see the players in action. I am not going to make any snap decisions based on just one game, but it's a start.

'Hanover were a good solid test for us. They kick off their season next week so they are a week ahead in terms of preparation.'

Villa now face two friendlies in Holland, starting with NEC Nijmegen on Tuesday and followed by Groningen on Friday.

'Now we head to Holland and I can start working with the players. We've got a couple of games, we can try a few things and I will get to know everyone a bit better.

'It's been a hectic 24 hours and now things can start to calm down a little. There is a lot of work ahead and seeing the players in action was just the start.

'Considering that the Bundesliga starts next week, I thought in terms of fitness we weren't too bad and that's good news for us.

'We do have a number of injuries and I think that some very decent players are injured - but we hope Gavin McCann is coming on Tuesday to join us.'