With the World Cup, one could be forgiven for forgetting about club issues. La Liga hasn’t been totally ignored - the pillaging of Atletico Madrid players and Real Madrid announcing pink shirts has made some headlines.
Yet, a bigger issue seems to have been mainly overlooked - the takeover of Valencia. Since the start of the New Year the club has been speaking to potential suitors and one has stood out more than the rest: Peter Lim. The Singaporean businessman looks set to take over soon but what can Valencia fans expect from billionaire?
Lim is a sports lover. He has invested in Formula 1 and in 2010 tried to buy Liverpool, even though he is a Manchester United fan. The Reds weren’t the only club he tried to buy. He also looked at Rangers, to name but one.
The first time that Lim’s name surfaced in La Liga circles was when he was linked to Atletico in 2013. He was introduced to Miguel Angel Gil Marin by super-agent Jorge Mendes but a deal was a complicated to reach and so Lim went looking elsewhere. Step forward Valencia.
The club’s debts and other issues are well-known and at the start of this year Lim threw his hat into the ring. He gave the club a deadline to accept his offer and said he would walk away should the club not accept it, but he didn’t. There were other bids on the table and so the Fundacion that control 70% of the club that Lim was keen to purchase wanted to find the best deal for everyone concerned.
There was also the issue of Bankia. Before any takeover can be completed a deal must be reached with the bailed-out bank. In May it was announced that the Fundacion had chosen Lim’s bid and so the media went into a frenzy, proclaiming the Asian businessman the new owner. But an agreement with Bankia still hasn’t been reached.
Some were concerned that Lim could walk away as he has been forced to pay more than he initially wanted but if he wants to be involved in Spanish football, he will need to learn that patience is key. The good news is that reports suggest an agreement is close and could be announced any day. Then the serious business starts.
“When Lim is finally the owner, we hope he will fulfil his promises that he said about the sporting side of the club because that means that Valencia could become a powerful club,” said former captain and Valencia legend David Albelda. Many Che fans share his thoughts. Lim has promised big names and it would be a nice change for a club that has had to sell their key players over the past few years but there are still concerns.
The Spanish Press has said that Jorge Mendes will be in control of all signings. That has some fans worried; will the players be loyal to the club or to Mendes? The case of Radamel Falcao has been mentioned more than once.
Peter Kenyon, former Chelsea and Manchester United CEO, is also a good friend to Lim. He may be brought on board to help the club both on the pitch and off. The club have already announced they have signed a new shirt deal with Adidas for next season. It is seen as a step in the right the direction as the club try to boost their profile both in Spain and abroad and Lim has shown good ideas of how to do that.
Valencia’s current President, Amadeo Salvo, confirmed this week that an agreement hadn’t been reached, despite what earlier reports had said. Salvo admitted that while there were difficulties on both sides that he was still confident that a deal would be completed.
For Valencia fans it can’t come quick enough. They have suffered but now it looks like there might be a light at the end of the tunnel.