Pointing the way forward for his players, new Aston Villa manager Martin O'Neill can take great satisfaction from his first Premiership match in charge as speculation continues over the future of the club.

Villa held Arsenal to a 1-1 draw on Saturday at the London club's new Emirates Stadium and O'Neill later praised his players.

But he also voiced concern that the impending takeover of the club would not happen in time for him to bring in new faces before the transfer window closes at the end of the month.

American billionaire Randy Lerner has submitted a £63 million bid which has been accepted by the Villa board but he could still face competition from rival consortia.

It was claimed yesterday that High Court judge Nicholas Padfield was close to putting together a consortium to launch a counter-bid.

And there were suggestions he could join forces with Midland-based businessman Michael Neville, also a Villa fan, and other groups to launch a £70 million bid this week. It is believed rival suitors have been told by the Takeover Panel they have until midweek to better the American billionaire's bid.

Meanwhile Lerner, who owns the Cleveland Browns American football team, insisted his involvement with Villa would not be an ego trip, saying: "I'm what you call the custodian."

Praising O'Neill as the "saviour" of the club, he said: "I can't say the trappings of ownership have ever interested me. It is claiming credit where none is due.

"I won't let my kids walk around in Browns shirts because I don't want them saying 'yeah, that's my dad's football club - he owns you'. That's the way to create little monsters." Lerner also revealed he has not discounted renaming Villa's ground as part of a lucrative sponsorship deal.

He said they would consider naming rights because of the potential "very positive impact on revenue" and hoped people would be open-minded but added they would take into account any "extremely negative reaction".