Napoli owner Aurelio De Laurentiis has pledged to buy an English club to extend his Neapolitan Empire onto other shores. We take a look at some clubs that are potentially on the market.
One of the many sleeping giants languishing outside the top tier of English football, Leeds United have excellent facilities, infrastructure, a fine stadium and a huge support, and would be tempting for any owner.
Three months after purchasing the club in December 2012, reports suggested that the Bahraini-based consortium were looking to make a quick profit by selling the club within the next year. Since then, they rejected a 51% bid, but have sold off a 10% stake and are known to be looking for new investment.
With the club no longer possessing significant debt and having a few decent assets on their books, such as Sam Byram and Aiden White, it could be a very astute purchase with real potential.
It's not long since Milan Mandaric bought the Owls, but the former Portsmouth and Leicester City chairman has turned over clubs pretty quickly before and could jump at the chance for a quick profit if De Laurentiis came calling.
Like Leeds United, Sheffield Wednesday have a large stadium and good support, and would look far from out of place in the Premier League. There is the matter of some debt for the club, and more investment in the first-team playing staff being required, but those are hardly deal-breakers.
Unlike the clubs above, Everton come with several problems, a more sizeable debt and the need for a new stadium being the most pressing. In addition, chairman Bill Kenwright has generally been very reluctant to depart, and would probably need a good price to consider a sale. De Laurentiis is rich, but he's not Sheikh Mansour rich, and this looks a much better idea on paper than it would be in reality.
That aside, a purchase would grant De Laurentiis an established Premier League club with plenty of talented players on the books and a productive youth setup, so if he's willing to push the boat out, it's not completely impossible.
A long shot, but former club legends being wheeled out in the press to tout the club to wealthy foreign businessman suggests that the plan for David Gold, David Sullivan and Karren Brady may have been to sell the club quickly all along.
There is an emotional tie with the owners, but with the Olympic Stadium being granted to the Hammers, the value of the club will have increased drastically. That allows for a pretty handy profit were the owners to sell up outright or enter some other arrangement.
There's no shortage of big clubs lurking in the English lower leagues, and with Nottingham Forest and Blackburn Rovers' owners generally coming up with PR disaster after farce in the press, it could be possible to envision a sale there. Then again, Watford are hardly a household name throughout Europe, but they were attractive enough to the Pozzo family — it depends on exactly what De Laurentiis' ambitions are. And since he intends to buy a third club, it depends on how much of his budget is going to be taken up by that option, too.
When the Pozzo family took over Watford in a similar deal, the club wasn't profitable and had considerable debt — it wasn't quite one of the cases of Premier League clubs being sold for the grand total of one pound, but it wasn't far away, either. With no decent-sized clubs in such a situation currently — considering Kenwright's odd management of Everton — then it seems an alternative approach will have to be taken by De Laurentiis.