Steve Bruce is confident he can guide Aston Villa back to the Premier League – despite the club’s perilous financial position.
Villa reached an agreement with HMRC on Wednesday, staving off the immediate threat of administration after it emerged they had an upaid tax bill of £2m.
But the club also needs to find £40m to comply with Financial Fair Play rules after failing to win promotion back to the Premier League.
Sky Sports News understand Bruce will be given a detailed breakdown of his budget for the next 12 months next Monday – but believes the core of his squad is good enough to return the club to the top flight.
Bruce has told close friends that he remains determined to finish the job he was hired to do – and confident he can take the club one step further next season.
While owner Dr Tony Xia remains in Beijing, the club’s board, led by chief commercial officer, Luke Organ met on Wednesday to discuss their outstanding tax bill along with the funds that will be made available to Bruce to strengthen his squad.
At this stage it is not clear whether Bruce will be made to cash in on his prize midfield asset, Jack Grealish, who is known to be coveted by a number of top Premier League clubs.
Defeat to Fulham in the Championship play-off final and news of unpaid tax bills has not dampened Bruce’s enthusiasm. and he believes the spirit among the playing staff remains strong.
Bruce believes the addition of two or three loans signings, while avoiding a wholesale sell-off of his squad, will mean that automatic promotion remains a possibility.
The former Birmingham City and Hull boss joined Villa in October 2016 after the sacking of Roberto di Matteo, with the club third from bottom of the Championship.
Club insiders look to the infamous summer transfer window in 2016, when Di Matteo spent £53m on new talent, including £23m on centre forwards Ross McCormack and Jonathan Kodjia.
Since taking over 20 months ago, Bruce has reduced the wage bill from £61m per annum to around £39m.
Among others, he brought in Scott Hogan from Brentford (for £9m), Neil Taylor from Swansea (for £4m) and Henri Lansbury from Forest (for £3m). However, sales of the likes of Jordan Ayew (£8m), Jordan Amavi (£7m) and Rudy Gestede (£6m) mean Bruce’s transfer business has recouped more than £18m for the club.