Huang gives up on Liverpool bid
Published 21/08/2010 | 05:00
HONG KONG businessman Kenny Huang has withdrawn his high-profile attempt to buy Liverpool Football Club.
Huang issued a statement last night, saying that he and his company, QSL Sports, were pulling out of takeover talks with the club, but it provided no reason for his decision.
He said: "Over the past few months we learned first-hand that Liverpool has a very special place in the hearts of millions of fans around the world.
"We concluded that a plan that properly capitalises the business and provides funds for a new stadium and player-related costs would allow Liverpool FC to provide its great fans with the success they deserve.
"Our strategy and unique ability to expand the fanbase in Asia would also have been of benefit to all. We regret that we will not have the opportunity to implement this strategy.
"We thank the many Liverpool fans who expressed support for our efforts and wish the club great success in the years to come. I am now considering my future options and will be making no further comment at this time."
It was reported earlier this week that Huang was growing impatient with the Anfield board, who are carrying out due diligence on a number of bids received.
Huang's bid to buy Liverpool from its American owners is thought to have valued the club at around £325m.
Huang, a tycoon well known in the Chinese sports industry, had pledged to clear Liverpool's debts and give manager Roy Hodgson funds to spend in the transfer market.
It was reported, however, that he wanted a deal completed within two weeks or he would pull out.
Liverpool were put up for sale by Tom Hicks and George Gillett in April with debts of £351.4m.
The Royal Bank of Scotland, their largest creditor, are thought to be owed around £237m, with a penalty fee of £60m due if it is not repaid by October 6.
On the playing front, Hodgson has, temporarily at least, won his battle to keep Javier Mascherano on Merseyside after Internazionale dramatically called off their pursuit of the Argentina captain.
On the same day that the Liverpool manager authorised Alberto Aquilani's loan move to Juventus, Inter president Massimo Moratti phoned Hodgson to tell him he would no longer authorise any bids for his players.
Moratti and Hodgson's relationship goes back 15 years to the time he was appointed manager of Inter and their conversation has ended what seemed a done deal.
If Moratti is to be believed, it ends speculation that Dirk Kuyt would be another prime candidate to rejoin his former manager Rafael Benitez at San Siro.
"I believe that Inter were only interested in two of our players and they are now not going to buy them," Hodgson said yesterday.
"I spoke to Massimo Moratti on Wednesday about the fact they are not going to buy Liverpool players and Dirk comes into that category doesn't he? Moratti said they were not going to buy."
Although it is conceivable that Mascherano will leave Merseyside, where his wife has failed to settle, he has few escape routes other than Inter. Last summer he came very close to a transfer to Barcelona, prompting the Liverpool hierarchy to promise they would not stand in his way if he played another season at Anfield.
Asked yesterday if he would still be interested in signing Mascherano, Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola replied: "We will have to see."
In the context of a terse press conference, this equates to a "yes", but the financial situation at the Catalan club makes it far from certain that Liverpool will receive an offer.
Should Mascherano, who handed in a transfer request on his first day back at training, stay for at least another six months it would represent a significant victory for Hodgson, after both Fernando Torres and Steven Gerrard committed their future to Liverpool.
His insistence that he would rather run down the remaining two years of Mascherano's contract than see him leave Anfield cheaply, appears to have concentrated minds at San Siro, although the danger is that the midfielder, having been promised he could leave, will feel alienated.
Should Liverpool sell him in the January window, it would be for much less than the £25m they could command this summer.