Combine the wealth of their three owners and they are the richest club in world football, but the Queens Park Rangers board could be preparing for a bid from a Russian investor this week.
Sources inside the club suggest a Russian billionaire, believed to be worth more than Roman Abramovich, is preparing a bid to take over the west London club and considering the lack of transfer activity by the current board, there’s a distinct possibility they will sell if the price is right.
QPR was bought by Flavio Briatore and Bernie Ecclestone for £14m back in 2007 for a 69 per cent stake and the family of Lakshmi Mittal purchased a 20 per cent share in the club from Briatore four months later.
At the time QPR were in a perilous financial condition and fans of the club were optimistic that their new owners would inject a much-needed cash boost to the club, but while the new owners have stabilised the club’s finances, no significant funds have been invested as of yet.
Promotion to the Premier League was expected to be the catalyst for a series of high-profile signings but the board have remained quiet in the transfer market and with the business interests of Ecclestone and Briatore at heart, a sale is more than possible.
It’s hard to value a Premier League club but Randy Lerner brought Aston Villa for £62m in 2006 and Newcastle chairman Mike Ashley failed to find a buyer for Newcastle at £100m in 2009 having brought a 41 per cent share in the club for £55m in 2007.
Loftus Road is the sticking point in a deal for QPR and the size of the stadium means QPR’s valuation will be a lot lower than both Villa and Newcastle, but Messers Briatore, Ecclestone and Mittal would all come out with a tidy profit having seen the club promoted to the Premier League.
Like many of the transfer rumours we’ve heard this morning, a potential buy-out could just be hearsay but should QPR receive an offer for the club, there’s every chance the board will sell.