EXCLUSIVE: Laurence Bassini is hoping to take control of Birmingham this week and is considering other options to manager the team which has put current boss Lee Bowyer’s job in jeopardy
The controversial ex- Watford chairman revealed earlier this month he has agreed to buy out the club’s largest individual shareholder Vong Pech, who has a 21.64% stake.
He then aims to takeover the whole club in the next two years for £36.5million, including staged payments totalling £26.5m and £10m. Bassini has secured funding from West Ham owner David Sullivan’s investment company. The deal also includes a further £10m promotion bonus if Championship Birmingham reach the Premier League by 2026
Bassini has a final deadline to do the deal by Friday before July and is planning to visit St Andrews in the next 24 hours in a bid to push his proposal through. He went public on his plans earlier this month which included bringing in Mark Warburton to coach the club. Former QPR boss Warburton has since joined Premier League West Ham as a member of David Moyes’ coaching staff. But his former Rangers assistant John Eustace has now emerged as a likely successor if Bassini axes Bowyer after City finished 20th last term.
Eustace, 42, joined QPR as assistant manager under Steve McClaren in the summer of 2018 and took temporary charge of the first team when McClaren left in April 2019, overseeing the final seven fixtures of that campaign. He remained in his role when Warburton took over ahead of the 2019/20 season but left last week after Michael Beale was named new head coach. Bassini’s bid for control at St Andrews would end a summer of uncertainty after the club’s Far East owners Birmingham Sports Holdings Limited decided they would listen to offers.
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They have also held talks with a rival group fronted by Birmingham fan Paul Richardson and ex-Argentina striker Maxi Lopez but Bassini has demanded exclusivity to complete his deal. Bassini’s potential arrival has sparked criticism though as the businessman, who was declared bankrupt in the past, has previously served a three-year ban from football and failed to take over Oldham , Charlton and Bolton
Shabana Mahmood, a Birmingham Labour MP, says she does not believe the sale should be sanctioned. Mahmood said: “Bassini has a history of bankruptcy, failed takeover bids, and legal action against struggling clubs.” Bassini’s financial assistance from Sullivan raises the possibility of the Hammers’ chief returning to St Andrews in the future as Czech billionaire and West Ham shareholder Daniel Kretinsky has an option to buy the rest of the London club from him and David Gold.