Often Partisan

De Fanti and Blues

Former Sunderland Director of Football Roberto De Fanti has been connected by the Sunday People with purchasing a Championship club to become a feeder club for Lazio. The Italian agent was sacked from his role with the Black Cats in January after just seven months.

It’s my understanding that one of the clubs that De Fanti is looking at is Birmingham City. There is no indication of any contact being made with Blues much less an offer being made or agreed but there has been an indication from a source close to this website that De Fanti has an interest. I’ve deliberately delayed publishing this story until after 12pm so people will know I’m not posting an April Fool’s joke.

There has been a recent fad for Championship English clubs being bought up by foreign club owners – Watford is owned by the Pozzo family who control Udinese and Granada whilst Charlton was recently bought by Roland Duchâtelet who owns Standard Liege, Carl Zeiss Jena and Alcorcon among others and it’s unsurprising to me that other big foreign clubs have looked at English clubs to see if there is a potential deal for them too.

I have to be honest and state that I’m not massively keen on the idea of being owned as a feeder for someone else – it has been discussed before when Antonio de Laurentiis was also supposed to be looking at English clubs and I noted back then that I thought with the rule change on international loans coming in that I didn’t think clubs would be able to exploit the same loophole that the Pozzo family did when they originally bought Watford.

I can imagine that there is an attitude out there among some fans that “anything is better than what we have now” – particularly as I would guess that any deal whereby Lazio would buy an English club would have the potential to see someone like Paolo Di Canio installed as manager – Di Canio has connections with De Fanti at Sunderland and of course is a former Lazio player himself. I suspect this would go down well with at least some fans who are desperate for managerial change although if I’m honest controversial political views aside, I think Di Canio has proven that he is a bit of a loose cannon and not necessarily an improvement on what we have.

As with anything connected with any potential takeover of the club, it is very much a case of “wait and see”. I believe it is still very much a case that BIH are not looking to sell the club in one lump sum due to issues with retaining their listing on the HKSE once the club is sold – and thus any deal to take over the club is going to be complicated by the need of BIH to sell it in stages. What I think is important for the club right now is for BIH to get investment in itself and to wrap up any deal it can to diversify its interests which would then see it being allowed to offload Blues without any threat to its continued existence. No doubt the BIH board are working hard on that but I do believe that we will not hear anything about a takeover done in one fell swoop until they have managed to do so.

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