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Sat 23 Aug 2008 08:30 AM

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Gulf investors 'eye Premier League club'

Manchester City receives calls from Dubai, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, says top club official.

Companies in Dubai, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait are keen to invest in Premier League football club Manchester City, its executive chairman has revealed.

While owner Thaksin Shinawatra - facing corruption charges in his home country of Thailand - has had his assets frozen, the club is on the look out for new investors to help it compete in arguably the world's toughest league.

And Garry Cook, executive chairman, told UK daily The Independent on Saturday that the club had received calls from the Gulf region inquiring whether the club was up for sale. He said he was confident investors would be in place "within the next 10 days".

Aware of Premier League unease over Thaksin's position, Cook wants to restructure the board with non-executive “captains of industry” to restore some credibility.

Next week he intends bringing in new investors to help Thaksin through his present cash-flow problem.

The former president of Nike's Brand Jordan, said: "He (Thaksin) has some very wealthy friends. I was in Beijing last week, sitting with the owner and the second richest man in China and other guys.

"They all want to be part of Manchester City. I’ve had representatives of companies from Dubai, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait on.

"Some of those representatives have actually phoned the supporters’ club because they couldn’t find the club number. So I get the supporters’ club secretary saying to me, 'So the club is for sale, then, because I’ve got Anwar on the phone from Saudi Arabia?’"

Should Gulf companies invest in the club, it would be the latest twist in a saga that began last season with Dubai International Capital (DIC) making a $793 million dollar offer to buy Liverpool.

No agreement was ever made but reports persist that the deal may yet be revived.

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