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Aug 2010 03

The sale of Liverpool could be concluded by the close of the transfer window this month, but chairman Martin Broughton insists the board remain in control of any deal.

Chinese businessman Kenny Huang yesterday expressed his interest in assuming control of the Reds, with suggestions he would seek to acquire the club’s £237million debt from principal lender the Royal Bank of Scotland.

However, Broughton, who was brought into the club in April to facilitate a sale, revealed there had been “several” bids for the Reds and insisted the decision over the sale will be made by the Liverpool board.

“Any bids that go straight to RBS – and there have been several – come to me and are directed to Barcap (Barclays Capital),” he told the Guardian.

“RBS are not involved. The control remains with the board.”

It is hoped a deal can be completed by August 31.

Broughton, who was brought in to oversee the sale process, added: “It still remains the objective to conclude a deal before the end of the transfer window.

“That remains the objective but there are no deadlines, and we will continue working to complete the process.

“Both George Gillett and Tom Hicks remain on the board and they have given commitments that the board of Kop Holdings (Liverpool’s UK parent company) is the party that is responsible for the sale.”

Huang is the head of Hong Kong-based investment company QSL Sports Ltd and is believed to be keen to secure an agreement as soon as possible in order to give manager Roy Hodgson plenty of time to bring in reinforcements before the end of the transfer window.

Huang is believed to have already spoken to senior figures at Anfield to express his seriousness about a buy-out and in the hope that his message will filter down to help persuade top stars like Fernando Torres, who returned to training yesterday after his post-World Cup break, that the club does have a better future.

Torres has yet to publicly commit himself to the club the way captain Steven Gerrard did on his return from international duty, and speculation still links the Spain striker with the likes of Chelsea and Manchester City.

The 26-year-old is disappointed with the lack of investment in the squad but, with a potential change of ownership around the corner, he may find last season’s request for “four or five” players is granted sooner than he could have wished.

One of those new additions, Joe Cole – albeit a free signing following his release from Chelsea – is eagerly anticipating playing alongside the World Cup winner.

“One of the main reasons I came to Liverpool was because I wanted to play with these great players and I’m going to work every day to make Fernando as many chances as I can,” said the England midfielder.

“I’ve been watching the way he plays ever since he came to the club and, the season before last, he was the best striker in the world, without a shadow of a doubt.

“My job is to make chances for the front men and I can’t wait to play alongside him.”

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