London - Relegated Aston Villa could be sold to a Chinese consortium by the end of the week, according to British media reports.
Villa crashed out of the Premier League after a miserable season that saw the Midlands club win just three of their 38 matches.
US-based owner Randy Lerner has been trying to sell Villa without success for two years, but it appears a deal is finally close to completion after he lowered his asking price.
The BBC reports Lerner, who bought Villa in 2006, is willing to sell for as little as 60m, with the unnamed Chinese investors said to be looking over the Championship team's financial records.
Keith Wyness, who worked as Everton chief executive for five years, is reportedly being lined up for a similar role at Villa, having established extensive contacts including in China.
Villa are currently managerless after sacking Remi Garde in March, but former Leicester boss Nigel Pearson and ex-Chelsea chief Roberto Di Matteo are reportedly the leading candidates to step in as soon as a takeover is agreed.
The new boss will take charge with Villa condemned to second tier action for the first time since 1987-88 and with morale among supporters at an all-time low after months of protests against Lerner and the underperforming players.