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Last Updated: Thursday, 28 June 2007, 09:05 GMT 10:05 UK
Man City Q&A

By Chris Bevan

Manchester City

The blue haze of confusion that has hung over Manchester City all summer could be about to lift.

Former Thailand prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra is closing in on the 75% shareholding he needs to gain complete control of the club.

Thaksin lodged a formal 81.6m takeover bid for the Premier League club on 21 June.

He made the offer despite having his bank accounts frozen recently when Thai prosecutors filed corruption charges against him.

MCFCOJ on 606

Any plans for the new season are still on hold until the outcome of the bid is decided but the City board says it intends to back the takeover.

City's wait for a new manager could also soon be over as former England manager Sven-Goran Eriksson has agreed a three-year contract in principle to take charge at Eastlands.

Eriksson's agreement is conditional on Thaksin's takeover going through.

It is unclear how much the new boss will have to spend but he will have to revamp a squad that only narrowly avoided relegation last season.

BBC Sport catches up with the story of City's summer - and looks at what could happen next at Eastlands.


Lifelong City fan John Wardle made his fortune as the founder of JD Sports and has been City chairman since 2003.

He and former business partner David Makin own 29% of the club but, after a fruitless search for new investors for the past four years, they are keen to sell up.

The pair are owed 20m by City, part of the club's 60m debt.

Mark Boler (18.75%), BSkyB (9.9%) and Francis Lee (7%+) are the next largest shareholders after Wardle and Makin.

Of those shareholders, only BSkyB have not yet stated they intend to accept Thaksin's offer.

But Thaksin's company UK Sports Investments Ltd purchased a further 9.88% of shares on Thursday and it is believed that represented BSkyB's stake in the club.

Thaksin now has a 65.78% interest in City and is edging closer to owning 75% - at which point he can de-list the company from the stock exchange and take them into private ownership.


Takeover talk was rife at Eastlands all season, with Wardle announcing to the Stock Exchange in February that City were in discussions with potential investors.

Former City full-back Ray Ranson was the first to make a move for City at the end of April, with Thaksin showing his hand soon after.

An unnamed American consortium has also been mentioned but has remained in the shadows and, when Ranson pulled out of the running on 30 May, Thaksin took centre-stage.


Thaksin Shinawatra
Ex-Thai prime minister Shinawatra has had his bank accounts frozen

Thaksin, 57, made a formal bid at the end of May and was granted access to the club's accounts.

But, despite reassurances from Thaksin's lawyer Noppadon Pattama that all was well, his offer failed to progress as expected.

Talks continued but the whole deal was put in jeopardy on 11 June when Thailand's military government froze 830m of Thaksin's assets while they investigated him for corruption.

However, Thaksin chose to press ahead with the deal and lodged a formal 81.6m offer on Thursday.

The City board has announced it intends to back the bid from UK Sports Investments, a vehicle indirectly controlled by Thaksin and his son and daughter.

But Thaksin will have to pass the Premier League's standard "fit and proper person" test before he can complete the proposed takeover.

Thai authorities are also investigating the source of the funds behind Thaksin's offer.

Wardle has remained silent throughout the process, partly because of regulations regarding takeovers.

But if it all falls through, Wardle will remain at the helm and, if so, he promised in April that "significant transfer funds" would still be made available to the new manager.

Thaksin has promised a transfer kitty of 50m if he wins control.


Sven-Goran Eriksson
Eriksson is apparently Thaksin's preferred choice as City boss

City have been without a manager since Pearce was sacked on 14 May.

Ronald Koeman, Louis van Gaal and Gerald Houllier were the early favourites to replace him but a host of names have been linked with the job since.

The new season is less than two months away but any appointment has been delayed by the ongoing Thaksin takeover bid.

The wait for Thaksin cost City their reported main target, former Chelsea boss Claudio Ranieri, who was interested in the Eastlands job but was tempted away by Juventus.

Attention then shifted to Sevilla manager Juande Ramos and former Ajax coach Co Adriaanse, with Blackburn manager Mark Hughes and ex-Fulham boss Chris Coleman also linked to the post.

Sven-Goran Eriksson has been offered the job by Thaksin and agreed a three-year contract in principle but an official announcement is not expected until next week.

Sweden's assistant manager, Roland Andersson, says Eriksson has contacted him about being his number two at Manchester City, should he take charge.


Thaksin confirmed on 21 June that he has had a meeting with Eriksson.

However, City's chief executive Alistair Mackintosh has drawn up a separate shortlist for the manager's job.

Whatever happens next, it needs to happen quickly, as City's players begin pre-season training on 4 July.

The departure of Pearce and his assistant Steve Wigley means reserve-team manager Kenny Jackett and goalkeeping coach Eric Steele are the only recognised senior coaches at the club.

Player contract talks were suspended over the summer but they have now resumed, with England Under-21 defender Nedum Onuoha signing a new four-year deal on 25 June.

Goalkeeper Nicky Weaver and Michael Ball are still waiting on new deals after beginning negotiations when Pearce was in charge.

The club have not announced their pre-season programme yet but some fixtures have been pencilled in.

It has been confirmed that City will play Port Vale on 1 August in a benefit game for Vale boss Martin Foyle.

Another game will be against Shrewsbury as part of the deal that took England Under-21 goalkeeper Joe Hart to Eastlands in May 2006.

And one friendly is believed to be in the Far East.


Joey Barton
Barton joined Newcastle from Manchester City for 5.8m

Six members of last season's City squad have departed.

Sylvain Distin, Trevor Sinclair, Hatem Trabelsi, Stephen Jordan and DaMarcus Beasley have all left.

England international midfielder Joey Barton then completed a 5.8m move to Newcastle United on 14 June but City have made no new signings so far.

City are not the only Premiership club yet to welcome any new players this summer - Aston Villa, Blackburn, Derby and Everton are the others.

But, while their rivals can begin - or continue - their summer recruitment drive, there will be no new arrivals at Eastlands until a new manager is appointed.

Thaksin boosts stake in Man City
28 Jun 07 |  Business
Eriksson targets Sweden assistant
26 Jun 07 |  Man City
Eriksson set to take Man City job
26 Jun 07 |  Man City
Onuoha pens new Man City contract
25 Jun 07 |  Man City
Shrewsbury wait on Man City game
26 Jun 07 |  Shrewsbury
Thaksin money 'clean' says Harris
24 Jun 07 |  Man City
Eriksson set to take Man City job
23 Jun 07 |  Man City
Thaksin lodges bid for Man City
21 Jun 07 |  Business
Thaksin confirms Eriksson talks
21 Jun 07 |  Man City
Man City close in on new manager
13 Jun 07 |  Man City
Thaksin's Man City deal on track
19 Jun 07 |  Man City
Man City call for Thaksin answers
11 Jun 07 |  Man City
Thailand freezes Thaksin's assets
11 Jun 07 |  Asia-Pacific
Seville to hold Ramos deal talks
05 Jun 07 |  Man City
Man City move closer to takeover
04 Jun 07 |  Man City
Ranson withdraws Man City offer
30 May 07 |  Man City
Trio shy away from Man City post
16 May 07 |  Man City
Pearce blames axe on poor funding
15 May 07 |  Man City


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