The sale of Aston Villa has moved closer with the granting of exclusive negotiations to an unnamed bidder. Sources say early favourite Paul Smith is no longer in the picture.
Exclusivity grants a bidder sole rights to deal with Villa's American owner Randy Lerner for up to six weeks.
, BBC Sport's Pat Murphy reports former Chelsea executive Smith has not managed to land exclusivity.
The identity of the new front-runner has been kept a close secret as both parties signed non-disclosure agreements.
Villa finished 17th in the Premier League this season and were beaten 4-0 by Arsenal in the FA Cup final.
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