The absolutely serious party looking to take control of Liverpool Football club was tonight named as Kenny Huang, backed by one of the largest sovereign wealth funds in the Far East, and determined to get hold of the club before the transfer window close at the end of the month.
A report in The Times says Huang is negotiating with RBS, to whom Liverpool FC and its owners owe £237m, and says that even “last week no viable bidder had come forward and [Liverpool Chairman Martin] Broughton has not moved the process on.”
Anfield Road revealed last night that a serious bidder was looking to move in immediately to take over at the club but their attempt was being hampered by apparent stalling tactics from George Gillett. Anfield Road also pointed out that pressure from supporters, SOS and ultimately Broughton might be required to force RBS into action to prevent Gillett from further delaying completion of the only serious bid for the club.
Huang will not be relying on his own wealth for the deal and for the backing of the club in what it needs to get back on track, but he is determined to prevent the current management from allowing the club to go any further off course as he tries to close the deal. The Times report that he has already approached key figures at Anfield to try and prevent an exodus of players. Fernando Torres is named as a player requested not to make a decision on his future ahead of this potential takeover.
The report also says that RBS have grown increasingly impatient at the lack of bidders in the wake of Tom Hicks’ reportedly putting an £800m price tag on the club. Analysts find this figure an astounding over-valuation, a figure of £325m considered a more appropriate valuation for a club that still doesn’t have one cubic centimetre of concrete in place for the new stadium that was such a key part of the Hick and Gillett business plan.
Huang’s bid would lead to a new stadium being built “as quickly as possible” and from RBS’s point of view would guarantee repayment of “the vast majority” of the money lent to the club and its owners.
Liverpool have spent the summer making do with free transfers in most cases with the £2m signing of Danny Wilson the highest fee paid out this transfer window. The club’s financial year ended yesterday with the club making a phenomenal profit on transfer fees. The proposed new ownes would bring significant transfer funds to Roy Hodgson, available to be spent this summer, further emphasising the need to avoid any further stalling from the current owners and the bank. Martin Broughton needs to take charge of the situation as a matter of urgency.