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American billionaire back in for Liverpool

by John Harkin. Published Wed 28 Jan 2009 09:11, last updated: 28/01/09

American billionaire Robert Kraft has renewed his interest in buying a stake in Liverpool.

Kraft was strongly linked to buy the Reds before the club was taken over by current owners George Gillett and Tom Hicks for £470 million in 2007.

With Liverpool's owners at war, Kraft is said to be close to making a £270 million offer for Gillet's share in the company after Kuwaiti tycoon Nasser Al-Kharafi cooled his interest.

A source close to Kraft confirmed: "Robert has always been interested in Liverpool.

"He came very close to securing a deal before Tom Hicks and George Gillet bought the club.

"He is still in contact with David Moores and he's well aware that George wants out.

"Liverpool is a fantastic brand and a great franchise for any businessman.

"He already owns a string of sports teams in the States, but Robert knows it would be nothing like Liverpool.

"It's such a passionate club and it's fans are probably the most loyal in the world.

"He briefly enquired last year, but when DIC came in with an offer they blew him out of the water.

"But things are different now and he thinks now would be the best time to act.

"He's already spoken to the current owners about the possibility of getting on board and will probably make an offer in the next few weeks."

Liverpool fans are sure to be hopeful of a change from current ownership as the club have been beset by financial headaches since David Moores sold his shares in 2007.

Despite splashing out £20 million on forward Robbie Keane in the summer, manager Rafe Benitez was left fuming when an £18 million deal for Aston Villa captain Gareth Barry was cancelled by the board, citing the transfer "wasn't value for money".

And contract talks with Benitez have recently broken down after the Americans refused to grant the manager full control in the transfer market.

It is thought Kraft is keen on Benitez to remain at the helm should he purchase a stake in the club.

*Robert Kraft is the Founder, Chairman & CEO of The Kraft Group but is best known as owner of American football team New England Patriots and Major League Soccer's New England Revolution.

Speaking about Liverpool in 2005, Kraft said: ""Liverpool is a great brand and it's something our family respects a lot.

"We're always interested in opportunities and growing, so you never know what can happen."


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