Sheffield Wednesday: Owls takeover gathering pace

Owls chairman Milan Mandaric is keeping tight-lipped over a possible takeover.
Owls chairman Milan Mandaric is keeping tight-lipped over a possible takeover.

Hafiz Mammadov could be the man to lead Sheffield Wednesday back into the Premier League.

The Star understands the Azerbaijani businessman is in advanced takeover talks with the Owls.

It was in 2013 Mammadov, the founder and chairman of the Baghlan Group, which specialises in oil, gas, construction and transportation, bought RC Lens, who were recently promoted to Ligue 1 after finishing second in Ligue 2. Mammadov, who also owns Azerbaijan side FC Baku, will look to replicate the success he has enjoyed in French football with Wednesday if he chooses to invest in the Owls outfit.

It is understood Mammadov has been in discussions with Wednesday chairman Milan Mandaric for several months. Reports in France yesterday suggested a deal in the region of € 50 million has been struck up between the two parties.

Mandaric, who took over at Hillsborough in December 2010, declined to comment when contacted by The Star last night.

It was less than a year ago Mandaric said he was keen to spend more time with his family and focus on his other business interests. He has also previously told this newspaper he wants to eventually sell up but has vowed to depart only if the new owner is a suitable fit for the club.

Back in April, the 75-year-old said: “I want to protect my supporters from speculation and that’s what I’m trying to do. One day it [a takeover] will happen but I’m not desperate or under pressure and I want to do the right thing. That’s probably why it hasn’t happened yet.”

Several parties, prior to Mammadov’s approach, have expressed an interest in investing, including a Chinese consortium fronted by ex-Birmingham vice-chairman Sammy Yu, but no tangible offer has been tabled.

Wednesday, meanwhile, have captured defenders Matt Young, 20, and Ed Sanders, 18. Young, a right-back, has arrived from Southampton on a one-year deal while Sanders, a centre-back, has joined from Stoke also on a year-long contract.