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Aston Villa set for another season of struggle after summer of turmoil, uncertainty

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BIRMINGHAM, England - Aston Villa looks to be headed for another season of struggle in the Premier League following a summer which exposed the turmoil and uncertainly surrounding the cash-strapped Midlands club.

American businessman Randy Lerner's failure to find a buyer after putting Villa up for sale in May has impacted off-season transfer activity, with the incoming players — including former England midfielder Joe Cole and Switzerland defender Philippe Senderos — being free agents or cheap buys.

Villa hasn't replaced departed chief executive Paul Faulkner and manager Paul Lambert is under pressure to avoid a fifth straight season battling against relegation.

Despite the arrival of Cole and Senderos, Lambert will put his faith in young, mostly unheralded youngsters to keep Villa up, which has been his policy for the first two years of his tenure. Midfielder Fabian Delph is the most promising of the young players.

Roy Keane has been recruited as Lambert's assistant manager, and will combine his duties at Villa with his role as assistant coach with Ireland's national team.

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In: Joe Cole (West Ham), Philippe Senderos (Valencia), Kieran Richardson (Fulham).

Out: Marc Albrighton (Leicester), Nicklas Helenius (Aalborg, on loan), Antonio Luna (Verona, on loan).

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