The ownership situation at West Ham is “messy” and there are no plans for a takeover before the end of the season, The Guardian reports.
The penalty clause in the deal to move into the London Stadium, which would have forced David Sullivan and the late David Gold to pay a fee if they club was sold for over £300million expired this month, but despite the way being cleared for a takeover it will not be happening imminently.
Daniel Kretinsky, who currently owns 27%, is seen as “most likely” to take over and has an option for a set-price full takeover, but amid uncertainty of the club’s status during a Premier League relegation battle, and complications in the board room, a change currently appears a long way off.
The Guardian report that Kretinsky has a first option on Sullivan’s 38.8% of shares, but sources have suggested the latter doesn’t want to sell to him.
At the same time he has second-option on the shares owned by Gold, who died on 4 January, but there is also uncertainty there with a belief that Sullivan may have first-refusal on that 25.1% stake, which is currently in line to be inherited by Gold’s family.
In those circumstances, Jacob Steinberg reports: “Clarity is unlikely soon.”
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Frankly, right now the club could do without the extra upheaval of a takeover when everything else is already up in the air.
But it is generally not a healthy situation for a football club to be in if it is stuck between two parties who are unwilling to do business with each other, and neither side has control.
Spending on transfers has been high this year but if Sullivan is looking to sell, but not to Kretinsky, then it could see funding dry up until one side or the other is in charge.
And with David Moyes once again under huge pressure amid a dismal season the complicated situation upstairs could help to explain why the manager appears to have been left to carry on by default do to a lack of a contingency plan from the board.
With West Ham just one of Kretinsky’s many investments he might even be minded to move on if he doesn’t want to pay the price of his option and Sullivan won’t cooperate.
It is perhaps not top of the list of priorities right now with top flight survival front and centre, but a potential stalemate could store up problems down the line if the “messy” situation isn’t resolved in the summer.