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Liverpool and Arsenal set for showdown

50-50 Challenge
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Liverpool and Arsenal set for showdown

50-50 Challenge
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By ESPN Staff

O'Neill may have to wait for transfers

Aston Villa manager Martin O'Neill has admitted he may have to wait until January before he can make major inroads into the transfer market.

O'Neill is due to meet new Villa owner Randy Lerner in the next couple of days to draw up prospective plans in terms of team strengthening.

But he accepts the time-scale - the transfer window closes next Thursday - means he may only be able to make limited purchases by August 31.

O'Neill, whose side entertain Newcastle on Sunday, said: 'I really don't know how quickly things can happen. Randy Lerner is in now, the major shareholder, which is good for the club.

'At some stage I will obviously sit down and give him an assessment of the strengths of the squad and what I think will be needed.

'But whether that is done in time for Thursday is really another issue and I wouldn't be holding out on it.

'I have an amount of money that the chairman (Doug Ellis) was giving to me for before the transfer deadline and I'm going to have to try and do something with that.

'Everything else may come far too late. I really don't know. Time is pressing. I was always prepared for the fact I may have to mark time until January anyway.

'But I am really trying to do something. I really do hate talking about it as well because come next Friday you are all going to say `what have you done?''

O'Neill will place the emphasis on bringing in quality players even though numerically his squad needs bolstering and he may even turn to loan signings.

He said: 'Kevin Phillips and Mathieu Berson have left. There are positions there to fill. I could fill the squad up with players that wouldn't be good enough.

'I don't really want that anymore. I want to try and get better quality in and if we can't do, then I'll have to supplement it somehow to January - and I wouldn't discount loans.'

O'Neill, who is optimistic skipper Gareth Barry will now remain at Villa, is delighted to have the opportunity to work with Lerner who owns NFL side Cleveland Browns.

He said: 'It is good news for the football club and I think he is well intentioned. He wants to do things with the club.

'In my short conversation with him before he was making his bid, he made his intentions pretty clear. I think he knows the potential of the club.'

'I will get to know him very soon. It is great he is in and all the serious doubts that have hung over potential takeovers in the past have at least been pushed aside.'