Aston Villa are already making great strides in their bid to secure a lucrative, new short sponsorship deal for next season.

The club were forced to start looking for a new sponsor when DWS Investments last week opted not to extend their current two-year deal when it runs out this summer.

DWS were the investment arm in this country of Deutsche Bank. And, following a sell-off, meaning that they no longer needed such a high UK profile, it was hardly a surprise that they should decide not to take up their option to continue as Villa's shirt sponsors.

But Villa Sales Director Stuart Ryan, who yesterday concluded a new two-year kit deal with suppliers Hummel, has wasted no time trying to find a new name to go on those shirts.

"There's been a lot of interest, both from existing sponsors in the market place and ones wanting to get involved for the first time," said Ryan, who joined Villa eight months ago from his role as Commercial Director of West Ham United. "And we've already had some very encouraging meetings.

"With today's everchanging media backdrop, and the TV deal coming up for renewal again in 2007, it's a situation a lot of potential shirt sponsors are looking at.

"There are seven or eight Premiership clubs in the same position as us, all with the same options either to extend their existing deal or look for a new one, as we are."

The one deal Villa did do yesterday was to extend their arrangement with Hummel.

The Danish sportswear manufacturers signed a two-year agreement in 2004, and that deal was due to expire at the end of this season.

But replica kit sales have gone well, along with a wider range of Villa-branded sportswear, encouraging them to sign up for another two years.