O'Leary's delight at £20m for new players

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The Independent Football

The Aston Villa manager, David O'Leary, has been given the go-ahead by the club's chairman, Doug Ellis, to embark on a summer spending spree believed to be around £20m.

The Aston Villa manager, David O'Leary, has been given the go-ahead by the club's chairman, Doug Ellis, to embark on a summer spending spree believed to be around £20m.

O'Leary had thought he would only have around £4m to bolster his squad and had been looking to bring in free transfers. But now Ellis has told him that he will have "substantial" funds and is looking to bring in four players in time for next season.

The likes of the Chelsea midfielder Scott Parker and the Southampton striker Kevin Phillips have already been linked with Villa.

O'Leary said: "It is fantastic news. It is a big surprise but the club needs substantial investment and I've been told I'm going to get that in the summer. A few players I was interested in, I had forgotten about because I wouldn't have had the money for them as things stood. But I've been told I'm going to get these funds to pursue four top quality players that this club needs.

"With these four players, you can then start to push for a Uefa Cup place. Then over the next few years with a steady investment each year, maybe two quality players each summer, maybe we can push for a Champions' League spot."

He added: "What has made change the board change their mind? That's a hard question. I hope they have seen the reality of there not being shining lights amongst the youth and reserve players, that the only way we are going to push this club forward is by investing in some quality players."

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