Atletico Madrid are reportedly in talks to buy troubled Ligue 2 club Lens through their links with Azeri businessman Hafiz Mammadov.
According to L’Equipe, Atleti CEO Miguel Angel Gil Marin is heading a bid to purchase the French outfit, who are currently operating at an annual loss of €10m and face a series of tax hearings later this month.
However, a deal could be nearer than first thought, with the newspaper claiming Gil Marin has reached a verbal agreement with Mammadov, who is Lens’ majority shareholder and acted as an intermediary in brokering Los Colchoneros’ Land of Fire sponsorship between 2012 and 2015.
This agreement is now expected to be presented in writing to Lens President Gervais Martel, who will in turn submit it to France’s Professional Football League (LFP).
An unnamed Atleti source also told L’Equipe: “This is a very difficult issue, but yes, I can confirm the presence of such long negotiations.”