Thai PM hopeful of Liverpool deal

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The Independent Football

Thailand's prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra is prepared to hand Liverpool a £30million transfer fund as he seeks to buy into a "world-class brand name".

The premier is hopeful of agreeing an investment in the Anfield club by the end of the week which would give him a significant stake in the club, and claims he is meeting Reds board representatives in Bangkok today.

He said: "If the board are happy with the result of talks then we can make a joint announcement later this week, maybe Friday.

"It is a good business prospect since the team is in the top five of the English Premiership."

Shinawatra is believed to be ready to buy a stake of between nine and 30% in the club.

His spokesman, Chakrapot Penkai, believes the deal, which could significantly boost the money available to manager Gerard Houllier to spend on players this summer, will be mutually beneficial.

"Thailand thinks that the Liverpool team can enhance the standard of the sport's development in Thailand a great deal," he told BBC Radio Four's Today programme.

"Why does the prime minister want to invest in Liverpool? Because it is the era of the brand name, with a good quality brand name you can do many things.

"Liverpool's name is a world-class name - people attach their fantasies, their liking for sports, their enhancement in life, their self-development, along with this kind of team."

Penkai revealed the plans for talks between Shinawatra and Reds chairman David Moores, adding: "The prime minister of Thailand will meet the chairman of the board of Liverpool Football Club this afternoon.

"In the evening he will be hosting a dinner party for the chairman. During this period Thailand will be negotiating the final round with the Liverpool club to partially own the team.

"Thailand is an up and coming country, so we need some names to help us come into the global era."

Shinawatra made his name and fortune in the family telecom group Shin Corp, but Penkai would not reveal full details of whether the stake would be bought in a private capacity or with public funds.

"It is too early to tell, he cannot reveal details like that but the Thai prime minister intends that this investment will be a shared investment between himself and the people of Thailand," he added.

Part of any deal could see Liverpool setting up an academy in Thailand and help with the country's professional league. The Reds faced Thailand's national team in a friendly last July, winning 3-1 in Bangkok.

Liverpool recently turned down a proposal from property tycoon Steve Morgan to raise his stake in the club through a rights issue.

Morgan has a five percent stake in Liverpool behind Granada (9.9%) and chairman David Moores (51%).