Chinese tycoon set to make Leeds bid

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The Independent Football

A Chinese tycoon has emerged as a prospective buyer who would prevent debt-ridden Leeds United from falling into administration.

It is understood that Xu Ming, who is estimated to be the 11th richest man in China with assets of more than £200m, would like to gain control of a leading European club and it would appear that Leeds could afford him the perfect opportunity to do that.

A bid from Ming might outweigh a rival approach which is likely to be put forward by the former Leeds deputy chairman, Allan Leighton, and Sheikh Abdulrahman bin Mubarak al-Khalifa, of Bahrain, who is understood to have the support of two Saudi Arabian businessmen.

With Leeds £78m in debt, their chief executive, Trevor Birch, has been given a deadline of 19 January - set by the club's principal creditors - to resolve the financial current crisis.

Birch revealed on Sunday that the club's chairman, Professor John McKenzie, who has business interests in the Far East, was considering putting together his own consortium. That may well be led by Ming, who is also chairman of the Chinese Division A side, Dalian Shide. McKenzie, confirmed on Monday that he will not be standing for re-election at next Tuesday's annual general meeting.

Port Vale's board of directors are set to discuss a new takeover bid for the club this week. The fifth offer to buy a major share in the club was made one hour after Friday's deadline for potential investors to come forward.

The club have not revealed any further details, but have stressed it is not connected with the pop star and Vale fan Robbie Williams or Stoke City's Icelandic owners, both of whom have been linked with the Second Division side.