Portsmouth are on the brink of being rescued from their desperate financial straits by becoming the second Premier League club to be bought up by the wealth of Abu Dhabi.
Sulaiman al-Fahim, the property entrepreneur who fronted Sheikh Mansour al-Nahyan's takeover at Manchester City but was marginalised after making bold claims about who the club might buy, has signed a deal to take over the club from Alexandre Gaydamak.
A statement on the Portsmouth website said: "Portsmouth can confirm that it has accepted an offer from Dr Sulaiman al-Fahim to buy the club. This follows initial due diligence and negotiations with Peter Storrie on behalf of Alexandre Gaydamak. A period of formal legal and financial due diligence will commence next week so that the transaction can be completed as soon as possible."
It is unclear how much, if anything, Fahim has paid to take on Portmouth's £65m of debt – £25m-£30m of which is owed to Gaydamak, the rest to Standard Bank of South Africa.
One strong theory is that Fahim will pay a token sum to take over the debt and that Gaydamak will walk away with nothing.
Though Fahim does not have the wealth of the Nahyans, he is still believed to be worth $500m (£311m), a product of his successful property speculation in the Gulf between 2006 and 2008. Sources in the Middle East suggest that the Newcastle United owner, Mike Ashley, had approached him, but the $400m asking price for that club was prohibitive. Fahim wanted the opportunity to buy a smaller club and build it up organically.
It is understood he will take over as the chairman of Portsmouth shortly after the completion of the deal.Reuse content