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Friday 15 December 2017

Talks on Blackburn takeover get off to a 'productive' start

Jamie Holland

on the day Blackburn Rovers marked the 10th anniversary of the death of their great benefactor Jack Walker, the club held "cordial and productive" talks with Indian billionaire Ahsan Ali Syed about a possible £300m takeover.

Syed's team of negotiators arrived at Ewood Park yesterday morning to go through the club's books after having signed a memorandum of understanding with the club's trustees, which gives them exclusive access to the accounts for four weeks.

Syed (36) has a family fortune of £5bn, which is controlled by his investment company Western Gulf Advisory, based in Bahrain and Switzerland.

The group representing Syed included his financial officer Omer Khan, negotiator Gail Monbelly of accountants PricewaterhouseCoopers, and the French football marketing pioneer Jean-Claude Darmon.

Syed, who is a Muslim based in Bahrain, has promised to hand between £80m and £100m to manager Sam Allardyce to spend on new players.

If the takeover is completed quickly, then some of that money could be released in time for Allardyce to spend during the current transfer window.

Blackburn would appear to be an odd choice for Syed, a married father of three from Hyderabad. However, he claims to have followed Blackburn for 10 years.

He believes he is in pole position to buy Rovers, although he faces competition from another Indian businessman Saurin Shah.

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