In a highly significant move, Eli Papoushado, the Israeli millionaire, is understood to have appointed the prestigious merchant bank NM Rothschild to help him in a possible bid for West Ham United. An announcement may be made as early as next week.
Papoushado, who made his money through hotels and property deals, has already admitted he is part of the consortium being put together by Kia Joorabchian who, until now, appeared to be struggling to find the finance for the deal to acquire the Premiership club.
But it now appears that the consortium has been spurred into action by the interest shown from a rival group headed by Icelandic businessman Eggert Magnusson. They are currently in discussions with West Ham but have been told to increase their offer - and reveal how they plan to finance the deal.
Magnusson, the head of the Icelandic football federation and a highly respected figure in Uefa, is backed by an extremely wealthy Scandinavian banker who, until the takeover is agreed, wishes to remain anonymous.
It is likely that they will pay the £70m being demanded by chairman Terence Brown, who also controls 40 per cent of the club's shares, as well as taking on the debts of £23.5m. Magnusson and his backers insist they are fully supportive of manager Alan Pardew and have the club's "best interests at heart".
It may be that Brown wants a bidding war to take place to drive up the price. He is understood to be willing to sell. However, talks over anyone taking over the club may become academic unless West Ham pull clear of the relegation zone. If the run of defeats continues, it is unlikely any bidder will risk putting his money into a Championship club.
* Tottenham have ruled out moving to the Olympic Stadium after the 2012 Games. Spurs' sporting director, Damien Comolli, said: "They're going to keep a running track so there is no way we are even going to look into moving there."Reuse content