THIERRY HENRY has agreed to become Aston Villa’s new manager.
The Arsenal and France legend is ready to lead Villa’s charge back into the Premier League – once he’s had reassurances from the Championship club’s mega-wealthy new owners.
Steve Bruce remains in charge at Villa Park. But new majority shareholders Nassef Sawiris and Wes Edens are unconvinced if he is the right man to take the Villans back to the Premier League.
And they have already turned to Henry, who announced after the World Cup he wants to be a full-time manager.
The 40-year-old was Roberto Martinez’s assistant as Belgium reached the semi-finals in Russia but now wants to go it alone as a boss.
Another Midlands club in the Championship, Derby, have already moved to appoint another unproved former top Premier League star as their new manager, with Frank Lampard taking charge.
A source who close to the takeover negotiations told Starsport last night Henry had “verbally agreed” to be Villa’s new boss.
But their remains much still to do, including axing Bruce and agreeing a salary package and transfer budget with Henry.
They must also explain how Villa can move forward within the confines of Financial Fair Play.
Sawiris – a member of Egypt’s richest family – and American tycoon Edens – a co-owner of American basketball team the Milwaukee Bucks – look ready to invest big in Villa.
They see the club as having enormous potential and while the club is currently valued at £80m a return to the Premier League could see that rocket to £400m.
Sawiris and Edens have each bought a 27.5 per cent stake in Villa, meaning between them they have a controlling stake. To buy those shares, the pair paid Chinese businessman Tony Xia £30m.
Their investment is understood to have allowed the club to pay HMRC a £10m debt while Xia remains on the board as co-chairman.
According to Forbes, Sawiris has a net worth of £5.2bn and the pair have vowed to take Villa back into the top flight.
In a statement they said: “We believe that together we can bring business and sports experience that will help strengthen the club to ensure that Aston Villa can return to its rightful place in the upper echelons of English football.”