Shinawatra lodges Man City bid, confirms Eriksson talks

By Ben James, DPA

London : Thaksin Shinawatra, the former Thai prime minister who is bidding to complete a takeover of Manchester City, has confirmed that he has spoken to the former England coach Sven Goran Eriksson about the vacant manager's job at the English Premiership club.

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The Manchester City board said Thursday it intends to back Shinawatra's attempted takeover after he lodged a formal 81.6 million-pound (162.5 million dollars) bid.

Eriksson's agent Athole Still had denied that there had been any contact between his client and Shinawatra about the Swede, who stepped down as England coach after last summer's World Cup, moving to City.

But late Thursday, Shinawatra said he had spoken to the Swede and that he was a contender to replace Stuart Pearce, who was sacked last month after a disappointing season.

"I have my advisors working on it (the manager's job)," Shinawatra said. "Sven is one of the names they have given me.

"Sven has a very good reputation, he is a very capable coach. He has good connections, especially with the main players in the UK and Europe and that would help the club in getting new players to join in the future.

"I met him once, last week maybe. I had my advisor talk to him and just say hello and touch base. I didn't talk to him that long because my advisor did that interview."

Shinawatra's bid was made by UK Sports Investment, a vehicle controlled indirectly by Shinawatra and his son and daughter.

Even if shareholders accept the offer, though, Shinawatra will have to pass the Premier League's "fit and proper person" test before the deal could be finalised.

He and his wife are facing corruption charges in Thailand.

The offer is for 0.40 pounds a share, valuing the club at 21.6 million pounds, while taking on existing debt that stands at around 60 million pounds.

"I am delighted that the Board of Manchester City has recommended my bid for the club and I look forward to continuing the excellent work of (the existing chairman) John Wardle and his team.

"We share a determination to take the club back to its rightful place at the highest level of competition in both the FA Premier League and European football," said Shinawatra.

Wardle has been asked to remain on the board, along with chief executive Alistair Mackintosh.