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Aston Villa keen to make impact in Premier League, says chief executive

Aston Villa chief executive Christian Purslow has vowed the club will not just make up the numbers in the Premier League.

Dean Smith’s side returned to the top flight after a three-year absence following Monday’s 2-1 Sky Bet Championship play-off final victory over Derby.

Villa finished bottom when they were relegated in 2016, winning just three games, but Purslow insisted they will compete next season.

He told Club TV: “We have momentum. We have a core of players that we’re very excited about. But obviously there will be comings and goings.

“Our goal is that when we arrive in the Premier League, we are ready with a Dean Smith team – players that fit his playing profile and that give us the best possible chance to make a real impact next season, not just making up the numbers.

“There’s no interest in flirting with the catastrophe of relegation that the club has had to live with for the last three years, so we need to make really good decisions and add players who really improve us.”

Villa were 13th in February but 10 straight wins catapulted them into the top six at the end of the season.

Promotion was vital, with their parachute payments running out this season, and Purslow said they will use their £170million promotion windfall wisely.

He added: “We have a very well-organised recruitment department, under Suso’s (sporting director) leadership – really great young recruiters and highly experienced scouts have joined our club in the last six months.

“They have been working meticulously, Dean and I have been seeing those materials for many weeks.

“We now move from the hypotheticals of Championship v Premier League – we are in the Premier League.

“We will be inundated with both suggestions and speculation. That won’t impact us one iota. We know what we want to do and we will do it thoughtfully and carefully.”