Friday, January 23, 2009

Liverpool 'in new takeover talks'

Liverpool co-owner Tom Hicks is understood be in talks with Kuwait billionaire, Nasser Al-Kharafi over a possible Anfield takeover.

Meetings have taken place in London between aides of the tycoon, who has an estimated £9bn fortune, and Hicks' representatives, reports claim.

Hicks and his co-owner George Gillet are valuing the club at around £550m.

The American duo's reign has been dogged by controversy since their £218m takeover in February 2007.

Reports suggest talks with Al-Kharafi initially took place as part of attempts to finance Liverpool's proposed new stadium in Stanley Park, but turned to a buy-out.

Hicks authorised Ian Ayre and Phillip Nash, the club's commercial director and finance director, to travel to the Middle East to continue discussions.

Manager Rafael Benitez had public differences with the owners, who admitted they met former Germany coach Jurgen Klinsmann when doubts emerged over his future.

Hicks also demanded the resignation of chief executive Rick Parry last season after labelling his time in charge "a disaster".

And the pair's plans for a new stadium have also stalled after spiralling costs meant it would cost around £450m rather than the original estimate of £300m.

Benitez is currently locked in a contract wrangle with the Anfield hierarchy as he demands greater control over transfers at the club.

The Al-Kharafi family have made their fortune from a variety of enterprises, including construction, banking, engineering, telecommunications and fast food.

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