American millionaire Preston Haskell has emerged as a late rival to GFH Capital as the Dubai-based private equity firm edges ever closer to a takeover of Leeds United.
In an interview with a Sunday newspaper yesterday, (Nov 11) Haskell – a real estate entrepreneur said to be worth around £150million – said he was ready to invest in the Elland Road club despite GFH Capital hovering on the verge of 100 per cent buy-out of Leeds.
Haskell, 46, is thought to be interested in buying a smaller stake from United chairman Ken Bates. Yesterday’s report claimed he would offer immediate transfer funds of £10million to manager Neil Warnock.
Haskell said: “I look at a team like Leeds United as a long-term investment.
“As a businessman I see a club that has an incredible brand and that offers a great entrepreneurial opportunity to take it back to the level it saw in its glory days. Leeds is a well-managed club from Ken Bates down to Neil Warnock.”
A potential investor from America travelled to Elland Road in September for United’s 3-2 defeat to Hull City, and Haskell’s is one of two alternative offers being floated alongside the GFH Capital bid. The other is backed by wealthy individuals in Saudi Arabia.
But GFH Capital remains confident of securing control of Leeds and is hopeful of finalising a long-awaited agreement later this week. Sources close to the deal say the company’s bid has “gone too far” for the club or Bates to turn to a rival proposal.
The YEP understands that under GFH Capital’s plan, existing Leeds chief executive Shaun Harvey would remain in his post.
Bates, United’s majority shareholder, is said to have “no long-term future” at the Championship club but is believed to be hopeful of retaining some involvement until Christmas if GFH Capital pulls off its buy-out.