Leeds United will press ahead towards an investment deal with American buyers despite creeping interest in the Championship club.
United appear intent on striking an agreement with the American group who toured Elland Road and Thorp Arch last week as other potential investors consider their next move.
Interest in acquiring a shareholding in Leeds has been heightened by confirmation that the club are actively seeking an injection of cash and have entered into negotiations.
The development has sparked preliminary movements among another group with ties to the United States, adding to tentative interest from one other consortium comprising of businessmen from England and Dubai.
But the American consortium who held talks with Leeds seven days ago – believed to be Chicago-based – are in pole position as they work to close out a deal with United’s owner and majority shareholder, Ken Bates.
The YEP understands that they are the only group whose interest in Leeds has reached an advanced stage of negotiation, and United attempted to progress the deal by inviting the individuals involved to England and view the club’s stadium and training complex last Thursday.
A number of North American investors have already distanced themselves from the situation at Elland Road, among them Chicago company Club 9 Sports and Canadian sports firm Maple Leaf Sports and Investment.
Both firms insist they have no intention of bidding for United.
Suggestions of interest in Middle East intensified yesterday amid conflicting claims that wealthy Kuwaiti businessman Fawaz al-Hasawi is closing in on a deal to buy a Championship club.
Al-Hasawi revealed his intentions during a press conference on Tuesday, saying he planned to take control of a “second tier English club” with “a big history in football”, but initial suggestions that he was targeting Leeds were swiftly followed by reports that he is focused instead on buying Nottingham Forest.
Forest are searching for new owners following the death of former chairman Nigel Doughty earlier this year but both the Nottingham club and Leeds appear unaware of al-Hasawi’s intentions.
United’s attempts to plan for next season are being delayed as the club work to secure outside investment.
Manager Neil Warnock flew out of England on holiday last Saturday with only one new player signed and is likely to return to Leeds next month with no further additions to his squad announced.