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Liverpool play on through fruitless search for fresh funds

| 21.08.2010

The spell of turbulence in Liverpool’s ownership shows no signs of abating as the main candidate to take over the club, Asian businessman Kenny Huang, says he’s pulling out.

With the transfer window due to close in little over a week, hopes that Liverpool could tie up a sale in time for fresh funds for to be made available for new players now looks near impossible.

At 12/1 Liverpool currently lie fifth in the betting to win the Premier League, although during the Premier League era, public financial uncertainty has been a consistent barrier to success, with the possible exception of Portsmouth’s run to the cup final last year.

Newspaper reports suggest that Mr Huang lost patience with the due diligence process, although also say his withdrawal may merely be a negotiating tactic.

Reports put his bid at £325m, a price at which Liverpool’s owners, Tom Hicks and George Gillett would not make any profit from their investment.

While painted as greedy by Liverpool fans, Hicks and Gillett’s belief that such a price undervalues the club is not without merit, as the club is generally felt to have yet to fully exploit its global potential, especially in Asia, and to also lag behind the clubs around it at the top of the Premier League in fully maximising its commercial potential at home.

Newspapers also this week reported that similar sums of money were being bandied about for a takeover of Blackburn, a team with a fraction of Liverpool’s financial candlepower.

If deadlock remains beyond October, when owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett will be hit with a £60m penalty by the banks for failing to meet their obligations, the prospect of a bank-led sale of assets to recover their money inches closer.

Uncertainty is bad for a club, but all agree that the best players leaving would be truly catastrophic.

Liverpool travel to Manchester City on Monday night for a tooth-rattling test of their championship credentials, where they are 2/1 to win. City are 11/8, 9/4 the draw.



Ed Needham