Thursday, August 05, 2010

Takeover To Make Liverpool Wealthiest Club In The World

Liverpool stand to become the most powerful club in world football if the takeover deal with a Far East Sovereign Wealth fund is completed.

The deal currently being negotiated by Kenny Huang, and his Far East partner has already laid the blueprint to make Liverpool the wealthiest club on the planet.

A Soccernet source has been given an insight into the ambitious plans to launch Liverpool in China, with internet, sponsorship, and promotions aimed to push Liverpool beyond the means of even the richest clubs.

The source describes the plans as taking Liverpool to a scale as yet unseen in English football by tapping into the Chinese markets.

As the Far East group aim to wrest control from American owners George Gillett and Tom Hicks, the source believes US companies from Walmart to Apple could seek to work with Liverpool to make enormous inroads within the Chinese markets. That would eventually enable Liverpool to compete to buy the world's best players in every position.

While it has been suggested that there are alternatives bidders, Hicks and Gillett would like the banks and the Anfield board to push up the price to include cash for the two shareholders, but the hedge fund backing this bid is in no mood to be stampeded into paying more for control.

The Far East Sovereign Wealth fund knows it is offering Liverpool their greatest opportunity to compete on a world stage with the financial big hitters, a chance that might not materialize again.

The new investors from the Far East believe that the shares are not worth more than the debt, and are therefore worthless, and they have no intention of paying Gillett and Hicks the premium price they have been demanding.

The Americans valued Liverpool at £800 million, but have since dropped their valuation to £600 million. The offer on the table, though, is to cover the debts of £350m, notably paying off the Royal Bank of Scotland's near-£240 million debt.

That is where Hicks and Gillett's Achilles heel lies, and the RBS is keen for this deal to proceed.

Royal Bank Of Scotland Deny Discussions With Potential Bidders For Liverpool Takeover

The Royal Bank of Scotland has denied having any discussions with potential buyers of Liverpool.

A recent name to be linked with a takeover of the debt ridden Merseyside club was businessman Kenny Huang, who has been reported to be harbouring a serious interest in leading a Chinese purchase of the Reds.

In the meantime, speculation was rife that the RBS could have been involved in the talks as the current owners, Tom Hicks and George Gillett, owe a significant sum of money to the bank.

However, club chairman Martin Broughton recently maintained that the financial negotiations will be handled by Barclays Capital, the bank mandated to run the sale process.

A spokesman for RBS is quoted by The Herald as saying: "The guy [Huang] contacted us and we put him onto the club and the advisers. We have not had negotiations with him at all, there is a due process for any bidder."

Now it appears that Huang is being rivalled in the race to become the new owner at Anfield, as Sky Sports News claims that Yahya Kirdi, who represents Middle East & Canadian investors, is close to buying Liverpool.

It has been reported in the past that Kirdi knows co-owner George Gillett and his son Foster, and is also believed to have been present in January to watch the Reds play Stoke City in what was an underwhelming season last time out.

Meanwhile, The Telegraph claims that a New York-based private equity firm, the Rhone Group, have rejoined the race to take control of the Merseyside club.

It is believed that the Rhone Group had previously made an approach to buy the club towards the latter stages of last season, offering £100 million to assume 40 per cent control - leaving the two current owners with 30 per cent each.

However, any potential bid that may have been made at the time did not reach fruition as no takeover took place prior to the conclusion of the 2009-10 Premier League season.

But now the Americans are said to have returned to compete with Huang and Kirdi to assume control of Liverpool.

Syrian Businessman Aims To Gazump Kenneth Huang In Race For Liverpool

A surprise Syrian bidder claims to have re-entered the race to buy Liverpool FC.

Yahya Kirdi, a businessman and former Syrian international footballer, says his group is in "advanced negotiations" with the owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett.

Kirdi claimed in a statement that he had agreed a price and that a formal agreement is being drawn up. His statement comes just three days after the Chinese businessman Kenneth Huang made his group's bid for the club public.

Some suspect that Kirdi's claim could be an attempt to drive up any price paid by Huang, who has offered under £300m for the club, around half of what the owners are seeking.

Kirdi's group of investors, from the Middle East and Canada, have promised to clear Liverpool's debt and provide the investment required to build the new Anfield in Stanley Park.

Kirdi made similar claims earlier this year and had previously been dismissed as a serious bidder by the club.

A statement released overnight said: "Yahya Kirdi, who represents a select group of investors from the Middle East and Canada, confirmed today that his group is in advanced negotiations with Thomas Hicks and George Gillett, co-owners of Liverpool football club, to purchase 100% of the club.

"Agreement has been reached on all major terms including the purchase price, repayment of the existing bank debt … and financing of a new stadium in Liverpool's Stanley Park. A formal purchase agreement between the parties is in the final stage of negotiation."

Kirdi said: "Liverpool is a massive football club with passionate and proud fans in Merseyside and in every part of the world. With additional money to improve the squad and financing in place to build the new stadium, LFC will be on a solid foundation to compete in the Premiership and in Europe for years to come."

The club's chairman, Martin Broughton, is hopeful of completing a sale this month, and the owners have always claimed that there is more than one potential buyer.

Premier League Monitoring Liverpool Sale

Premier League officials have held talks with at least one of the parties interested in buying Liverpool in accordance with new rules.

This season the League is introducing measures to tighten up the ownership and financial management of its clubs.

One of them requires new owners to pass the fit and proper persons test, 10 days before ownership is settled.

Although the Liverpool takeover is not yet at that stage, the League says it is monitoring developments closely.

Reds chairman Martin Broughton insists "several" bidders are still in the frame, with Chinese businessman Kenny Huang confirmed as being among them on Monday.

If successful, the Liverpool takeover will be the first to be subjected to the new rules, which will include the newly named owners and directors test.

Broughton has said he wants to complete a sale before the transfer window closes at the end of August, although the BBC understands a decision on a preferred bidder could be taken by the end of next week.

Following Portsmouth's slide into administration, the League has introduced a number of new regulations designed to avoid a repeat of what chief executive Richard Scudamore described as the "reputational damage" suffered by the competition.

From this summer, teams must submit far more detailed financial information to prove they are able to pay their debts to football creditors, while new owners must meet the League's board before a takeover is approved.

Scudamore said: "We recognise there is reputational damage when you have a Portsmouth situation. Every club gets tarred with the same brush - that football is a basket case, which it isn't.

"Whilst we will never eliminate the risk entirely, we believe we now have the measures in place to reduce the risk of another Portsmouth situation."

Torres Targets Title After Pledging Future To Liverpool

Striker Fernando Torres is staying at Liverpool as he wants to write his place in the history books by bringing a long-awaited league title back to Anfield.

The 26-year-old was linked with a move from Merseyside after a disappointing seventh-placed Premier League finish, with Chelsea and Manchester City reportedly ready to make British record bids.

However, those who speculated about the World Cup winner's future did a major disservice to the player's love for, and loyalty to, Liverpool.

When former manager Rafael Benitez brought the Atletico Madrid star over from Spain to sign for the Reds in the summer of 2007, Torres was given a DVD highlighting the club's long and glorious history.

While he was holed up in Liverpool city centre awaiting the completion of the finer points of his transfer it was those iconic images on his television set – and subsequently the response from fans who immediately took him to their hearts – which cemented his relationship with the Anfield club.

But Torres did not fail to notice that on the DVD there was no mention of a league title since 1990 – and that is something he is desperate to rectify.

"I know that one trophy here at Liverpool – maybe the Premier League – means more than three or four with another club," he said. "This was my target from the day I came and it's still my target. Hopefully, this season we can feel this sensation here at Liverpool. This is the best club in the country so the targets and expectations are always high.

"At Liverpool, the aim is to fight for every title. It was difficult last season but we are sure we can improve this season."

Benitez being replaced by Roy Hodgson raised questions about Torres's future but the prospect of the club being under new ownership by the end of the month is more significant to the Spaniard.

Chairman Martin Broughton claims there are six bidders keen to take over and while it remains to be seen how many of them are viable, a new era appears to be approaching sooner than expected at Anfield.

Torres wants to be part of a future which appears much brighter than it did three months ago when he underwent surgery on his right knee for the second time since January.

Seven Suitors Line Up To Sign Liverpool Starlet Dani Pacheco

Seven clubs are believed to have shown an interest in signing promising Liverpool striker Dani Pacheco, according to reports.

The Spanish youngster shone brightly during the U-19 European Championship earlier in the summer, and has since been heavily linked with a loan move away from Merseyside as he continues his footballing education.

The 19-year-old joined the Reds in 2007 from Barcelona, but failed to create an impact significant enough to break into the first-team at an early age. But he eventually went on to make his debut in the Premier League and the Champions League last December, and has since gone from strength to strength.

Now The Sun claims that the player is a top transfer target for Real Sociedad, while Malaga, Mallorca, Espanyol and Levante are also interested in acquiring the services of the youngster.

In addition to the aforementioned five, Portuguese heavyweights Benfica and Serie A side Genoa are thought to be keen on a move for Pacheco.

Stuttgart Reach Agreements With Andre Ayew And Philipp Degen

Bundesliga hopefuls Stuttgart are on the verge of signing Ghana and Marseille winger Andre Ayew, as well as Switzerland and Liverpool defender Philipp Degen, according to Bild.

On the issue of Degen, Stuttgart sporting director Jochen Schneider allegedly confirmed: "We have an agreement with the player."

The report states that Stuttgart would initially loan Degen for a year, but would have to pay no loan fee because Liverpool are keen to shed themselves of the defender's €3.5 million a year wages.

The transfer of Ayew may be more difficult. According to Schneider: "The player wants to join [Stuttgart]." However, the Germans have offered just €1m to Marseille, who are allegedly hesitant to let go of their 20-year old talent.

Having recently sold Sami Khedira to Real Madrid for €14m, the Swabians may be willing to increase their offer for Ayew. Following the departures of Khedira, Mario Gomez and Aliaksandr Hleb, Stuttgart are desperate to call in reinforcements ahead of their domestic and Europa League campaigns.

Fiorentina Confirm They Have Pulled Out Of Deal For Liverpool's Emiliano Insua

Fiorentina sporting director Pantaleo Corvino has confirmed Liverpool's Emiliano Insua will not be joining the club.

Negotiations between Fiorentina and Liverpool had progressed well, but questions over the player's wage demands have scuppered the deal, and the Italians have pulled out.

"Insua? It has been a transfer that has gone on for a long time because of the player," he told the press.

"I had dinner with Liverpool's sporting director until two in the morning. The player is staying at Liverpool.

"The reasons are linked to the player. His demands are high for us. We will not sign Insua."

'Suso Is A Joy To Watch'

John McMahon hailed the performance of teenage forward Suso after the Spaniard’s eye-catching display during the 2-0 win over Tranmere Rovers at Prenton Park on Tuesday night.

Both goals came in the second half with David Amoo in the thick of the action. Firstly his tantalising cross from the left saw Rovers David McNamara turn the ball into his own net, then he finished off a brilliant move to make it 2-0.

However, it was the performance of Suso that everyone was talking about come the end of 90 minutes.

"Suso is a class act, there's no doubt about it," McMahon told

"He is a very clever player in the mould of Dani Pacheco and he is very exciting to watch.

"We need to give him the ball and get him in the game because he can score goals as well as create them. He's a joy to watch.

"Overall I was pleased with our second half performance. We were very lethargic in the first half but I asked them to up their game which they did in the second half.

"It was nice for David to score and he did well. It's been difficult for the likes of Amoo, Daniel Ayala, Tom Ince and Steven Irwin who have been with the first team during pre-season to come back to the reserve team but they have shown a good attitude."

The reserves now head off to Ireland this weekend for a two game tour, starting with a game at Galway United on Monday night.

"It's nice to take the lads away and we are looking forward to it," he added.

"We will play two difficult games and it's always good to take the lads to a new environment."