Tuesday, 23 January 2007

Parma under new management?

Businessman Tommaso Ghirardi has confirmed he’s “very close” to buying out Parma in a £16m deal.

“We are very close and I hope the matter will conclude in the best way,” said the 31-year-old.

The chief of Leonessa, a business that manufactures turntable bearings for agriculture and industrial slewing rings, is already involved in the football world as President of Serie C2 outfit Carpenedolo for the last eight years.

It’s reported he has agreed to buy out the struggling Tardini side for £3m, but already has an extra £13m ready to clear debts and act as transfer funds.

“Nothing is official yet,” insisted Brescia-based Ghirardi, although in the city of Parma there are rumours the announcement could be made as early as Wednesday.

It’s believed that Ghirardi’s conglomerate includes the Monte Parma bank and another business in Brescia.

The Gialloblu were plunged into crisis when majority shareholders Parmalat went bust in one of the biggest financial scandals in Italian history in 2004.

The side sold off its star players and became a self-financing business based around talented youth.

Former Real Madrid patron Lorenzo Sanz had been on the verge of buying the club, but details saw the deal collapse after months of negotiations.

Swiss-Italian business magnate Gaetano Valenza was also in talks this month, but Ghirardi seems to have pipped him to the post.

On January 2 it was announced that Parma would be put up for sale at a public auction lasting just three weeks.

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