A rival group to the Sport Capital consortium are positioning themselves to make a second offer for Leeds United and intensify the ownership struggle at Elland Road.
A group led by ex-Manchester United employee Mike Farnan could submit an improved bid early this week after a deal between Sport Capital and Leeds owner Gulf Finance House reached an impasse.
Sport Capital have been working on a 75 per cent buy-out for two months but their takeover has run into difficulties in the past fortnight and appeared to be no closer to completion last night.
Farnan’s consortium, which includes ex-Hull City chairman Adam Pearson and Welcome to Yorkshire chief executive Gary Verity, made an unsuccessful offer for Leeds in November and looked to be out of the running once GFH agreed terms with Sport Capital later that month.
Sport Capital, fronted by United managing director David Haigh, initially planned to complete their takeover before the start of the January transfer window but protracted negotiations with GFH and delays have opened the door to rival interest.
Massimo Cellino, the owner of Serie A club Cagliari, was in England last week amid reports in Italy that he was planning to buy a 75 per cent shareholding in Leeds.
The 57-year-old has held talks with Haigh and Enterprise Insurance managing director Andrew Flowers – another of the men behind Sport Capital – but they are yet to agree on any investment.
Farnan, meanwhile, has given all the indications that his consortium will make a renewed offer to officials at GFH in Bahrain. He was unavailable for comment when contacted by the YEP but comments posted by him on Twitter suggested that his group would involve themselves again if Sport Capital failed to conclude a takeover by the end of last week.
On Friday he hinted that his consortium were continuing to work in the background, saying he needed to maintain “radio silence for the sake of progress.”
Haigh, however, took to Twitter yesterday to insist that Sport Capital “remain as committed as ever to finalising this.” As the ownership saga rumbled on, Leeds were waiting last night to learn whether West Ham United plan to follow up an initial bid for club captain and top scorer Ross McCormack.
Leeds rejected a £3.5m offer from Upton Park on Friday and have yet to receive an improved approach. West Ham signed another striker on Saturday, taking Marco Borriello on loan from Roma for the rest of the season, and they have until Friday’s 11pm transfer deadline to make a better offer for McCormack.