GIANNI PALADINI’S attempts to take charge of Bradford City last night looked to be at an end after his exclusivity period ended without a deal being concluded.
The former QPR chairman launched his bid to try to buy the Bantams early in the year. He made a formal offer towards the end of the season to purchase the 100 per cent shareholding that is jointly held by Mark Lawn and Julian Rhodes. An exclusivity period was then granted to the Italian, who made it clear during talks that he would not be funding the takeover himself but as a frontman for his investors.
That initial deadline of May 1 was extended by a month to allow full due diligence and Paladini has spent most of May in dialogue with the Football League as well as City officials. However, despite assurances given to the club that everything was on course, last night’s midnight deadline passed without a deal being struck.
This prompted City to issue a statement in the early hours of Saturday morning, which read: “As of Friday 29th May, the exclusivity period agreement with Mr Gianni Paladini has ended without a deal being completed.
“The joint chairmen, Julian Rhodes and Mark Lawn, will continue to run the club as they have being doing, planning to take Bradford City forward into the new season at an exciting time for the club and its supporters.”
City have fielded countless enquiries from would-be purchasers in recent years, but Paladini was the first to make a serious offer since Yorkshire businessman Steve Parkin’s failed attempts at buying out Lawn and Rhodes in 2011.
With Paladini, who failed with a recent bid to buy Birmingham City, now seemingly out of the picture, the club’s focus can switch fully back to team affairs and, in particular, the future of manager Phil Parkinson, who is highly regarded by Sheffield United, who are searching for a new manager following Nigel Clough’s shock dismissal last Monday.
United made an approach to speak to the 47-year-old on Wednesday but were rebuffed.
Both Lawn and Rhodes want Parkinson, who has a year remaining on his Valley Parade contract, to stay at the League One club.
Along with the manager, team strengthening also needs addressing. Paladini’s attempted takeover meant several deals had to be put on ice.
These included a contract offer to Jon Stead, who enjoyed such an impressive loan spell with City last season.
Chesterfield are understood to have taken advantage of the impasse at Valley Parade by making an enquiry about a striker who is out of contract this summer.