Nottingham Forest favourites to edge Leeds for Kuwaiti takeover
The manager of Fawaz al-Hasawi's office has confirmed to Sport360° that the Kuwaiti businessman is closing in on the takeover of an unnamed English Championship club.
Fevered speculation this morning had initially suggested al-Hasawi, chairman of the Qadsia club, was close to finalising a deal to buy out Ken Bates at Leeds United.
However, conflicting reports then emerged that the Kuwaiti was in actual fact keen on taking over another 'fallen giant' steeped in rich history in the shape of Nottingham Forest.
Sattam al-Sahli, a respected football journalist in Kuwait, who writes for EurosportArabia among other publications, said that he is sure that al-Hasawi is buying Forest and not Leeds.
It's a view supported by influential blogger in the region Mishari Buyabis, who told his 140,000 twitter followers that he was sure it wasn't Leeds – while also suggesting Forest was the most likely club.
Indeed, the fact that the deal appears to be for total ownership also indicates it's more likely to be Forest as Leeds supremo Bates is understood to more receptive to investment rather than a complete sale of the club he took over in January 2005.
However, Jamal Mubarak, a close confidant of al-Hasawi, has added to the mystery by refusing to divulge the name of the club when contacted by Sport360°.
While confirming that there is an interest in a Championship club he insists the name of which won't be revealed for another fortnight. "The identity of the club is still a secret and will be for another two weeks," he said. "It is definitely in the English second tier [Championship]."
Al-Hasawi is a member of a prominent business family in Kuwait, who has made his fortune from companies in refrigeration and electro-mechanical contracting.
He hit the headlines on Tuesday when he revealed that a deal “for a second tier English club” was indeed imminent — a club that “has a big history in football”. However, he did also say that he won't reveal the name of the club until the end of June.
Several Kuwaiti papers this morning reported that al-Hasawi had submitted his resignation from his position as chairman of Qadsia, leading to intense speculation that a takeover of an English club was nearing conclusion.
Both Leeds and Forest fans will be optimistic al-Hasawi will choose their respective clubs as they seek the investment they hope will propel them back to the heady days of yesteryear.
Leeds United, the last winners of the English First Division before the inception of the Premier League in 1992, have fallen on hard times since experiencing crippling financial problems in their foolhardy pursuit of Champions League glory in 2001.
Having spent three years in League One, the Elland Road club are now firmly established in the Championship, and such an investment could help propel the club back to where its fans believe it belongs.
Forest, meanwhile, are in a similar position to Leeds having lost their top-flight status in 1999 and also having faced the ignominy of slipping down to the third tier of English football.
The tragic death earlier this year of owner and lifelong fan Nigel Doughty, who is said to have poured in over £40million of his own fortune in his 13 years in charge, had left the club facing an uncertain future.