Liverpool sources last night insisted the takeover of the club by Dubai International Capital could be confirmed "within weeks" despite claims that the American bidder George Gillett was about to start an examination of the club's books.
A successful deal with DIC would mean that work on the club's new 60,000-seater stadium in Stanley Park could start in March, to be finished in 2009.
Gillett, the owner of the Montreal Canadiens ice hockey team who has had one bid to buy Liverpool rejected by David Moores, has written to the Liverpool chairman offering an increased sum. It was announced on national television in Canada last night that Gillett had been given permission to start a process of due diligence.
A Liverpool source said: "It doesn't really matter what George Gillett does; he is able to see the club's books because he is a bidder for the club. But the club will continue working with DIC and are close to a satisfactory conclusion."
It is expected that DIC will soon be in a position to announce through the Stock Exchange that it has had a bid accepted for Moores' 51 per cent holding. That would trigger the sale of the rest of the shares in a deal worth £450m.
The club's chief executive, Rick Parry, has rejected the Australia international Lucas Neill's stated reasons for turning down a move to Anfield in favour of a £1.5m transfer to West Ham.
Liverpool expected the 28-year-old defender to join in a swap for Stephen Warnock this month, but West Ham offered wages of £60,000 a week, at least £15,000 a week more than he would have received at Anfield. After completing his move to West Ham on Monday, Neill, who grew up a Liverpool fan, denied his decision had been motivated by money and said it had been taken after a lack of contact from the Liverpool manager, Rafael Benitez.
Parry, having spent six months working on the Neill deal, was bemused by allegations that his club had lacked the personal touch. "I don't know who was on the other end of the telephone talking to Rafa when I was sat next to him, but I'm quite sure it was Lucas Neill," he said.Reuse content