By John Curtis
David O'Leary will tell Aston Villa's new chief executive, Bruce Langham, that he needs funds to sign quality players this summer if the club are serious about re-establishing themselves as a top-six Premiership side.
And he warned that Villa could face "a survival season" in 2004-2005 if sufficient financial backing to bolster one of the smallest first team squads in the Premiership is not made available. O'Leary has only 16 senior players in his squad, with four - Mark Delaney, Marcus Allback, Nolberto Solano and 21-goal leading scorer Juan Pablo Angel - currently injured.
The former Leeds manager has transformed Villa into a side in with a chance of a European spot after admitting he was told "to asset strip the club". Twelve players have left since his arrival 11 months ago.
O'Leary wants to sit down with Langham and work out a five-year working plan.
"We are over-achieving this season, getting the best out of everyone - but it will be very hard to maintain that next season if we stay with the same players," he said. "We are in the middle pack of nine or 10 clubs in the Premiership, having moved out of the relegation pack, but all of those clubs are going to invest a great deal in the summer.
"Being a one season wonder could easily happen. That's why you need to invest. [But] if I am told there is no money to invest, then David O'Leary is not going to spit his dummy out.
"What we will be facing again though is a survival season. We could easily have a situation where we could be lower down like, for example, Everton who did well last season."Reuse content