Sheffield Wednesday: Takeover battle hots up

Milan Mandaric could stay on for a time to help any new owners settle in
Milan Mandaric could stay on for a time to help any new owners settle in

It is the clearest indication yet from the Wednesday chairman about the number of parties involved in takeover manoeuvres.

One of the bidders is known to be former Birmingham director Sammy Yu, who was in the directors’ box at Middlesbrough for last Saturday’s game against the Owls.

Mandaric has also told The Star that if he does sell the club then he may stay on for a time in some capacity to help new owners settle in.

He cannot give any indication of a timescale for a sale or say for definite that it will happen.

In the meantime he says he is concentrating on “the needs of the club” and aiming to sanction loan signings - including a striker and a midfield player - after attempts to do transfer business before Monday’s deadline narrowly failed. Dave Jones also hopes to bring in a centre half after confirmation that Anthony Gardner has ruptured his Achilles tendon and will be out for months. He is due to have surgery on Monday.

In an update on the summer-long takeover saga, Mandaric said: “Before making any decision I will have to make sure that I leave the club with a certain legacy.

“Whether it will happen, and whether it is sooner or later, I don’t know.

“What we are looking at now is the club’s needs. If I leave I want to leave it in proper hands, like I did at Leicester, and it happened at Portsmouth though later things did not go so well there.

“There are two or three groups who are very serious, very much interested. It is a slow process; nothing is happening very quickly. As soon as there is something definite, I will tell our fans.”

Mandaric said that the takeover issue was “not a major reason” for the club’s current spending policy but he would also have to think carefully over a decision if it might impact on the way new owners would want to do things.

He insisted: “Right now, we are running the club as if nothing will happen. What is most important is what the club has got and what it needs.” The chairman’s suggestion that he could have a continued if temporary role after a takeover echoes what happened at Leicester: he sold the club but stayed on as chairman for a time, before resigning to buy the Owls.

Wednesday have been in continual talks with possible new owners for a long period, before Sheffield United announced their new investment this week.

Mandaric said: “I wish them all the best - it is good for football in the city, but of course I’m more interested in what happens at our club.”

Mandaric and Jones will focus on the emergency loan market when it opens for business at the start of next week.