Maxi Lopez: Ex-Barcelona striker in consortium aiming to buy Birmingham City stake

Maxi Lopez
Maxi Lopez began his playing career in his native Argentina with River Plate

Former Barcelona and AC Milan striker Maxi Lopez is part of a consortium that claim they are close to buying a 21% stake in Birmingham City.

The 38-year-old and local businessman Paul Richardson say they have paid a deposit and exchanged contracts.

Any deal is subject to approval by the English Football League.

Lopez and Richardson visited St Andrew’s on Tuesday and are confident of being able to secure EFL approval with a view to an eventual takeover.

Their initial investment would not give them a controlling interest, but they would effectively run the club with a view to increasing their stake incrementally.

“I don’t think it’s the end of the road, but there is a path for them to get to the end of the road,” said BBC Radio WM’s Mike Taylor.

“Their viewpoint is this. They say they’ve exchanged contracts and they’ve put a deposit down and they are now at the ‘due diligence’ phase – the point they can go in and look at the books and see what they’re buying.

“That’s a long way from a takeover but it’s a staging point you have to go through.

“Richardson says they have a contract to buy 21% of the shares, with the agreements in place, to, over a period of – he suggests – two-and-a-half years to get to owning the lot.”

Blues are currently Chinese owned, by Birmingham Sports Holdings Limited – their second successive Asian-based ownership – who have been in place since 2016.

In June, former Watford owner Laurence Bassini told the BBC he was “within days” of finalising a takeover but no further progress was made.

And on 9 July, the EFL said it had not received any “documentation from any individual regarding acquisition of control at Birmingham City”.

Lopez was born in Argentina and joined Barcelona in 2005 from River Plate, and spent most of his playing career in Europe. As recently as 2020-21, he was playing in Italy’s Serie C with Sambenedettese.

Richardson is a Birmingham fan and owner of a clothing company.

Maxi Lopez
Maxi Lopez once scored against Chelsea for Barcelona in the Champions League

Blues begin the new Championship season with an away game against Luton on 30 July – their first under new boss John Eustace, who replaced Lee Bowyer.

But there is an ongoing issue regarding home fixtures as the Kop and Tilton Road stands were closed throughout the whole of last season and repair work has again been delayed by ongoing takeover talk.

“By their telling of it, the major thing they’re waiting for before they call themselves owners of Birmingham City is EFL approval. They see that as the main hurdle and that everything else is agreed,” added Taylor.

“There is a celebratory mood around Blues fans today, and you can understand why, especially with Richardson’s local connections, which I’m sure will be very popular.

“In terms of future plans, he says he’s not met Eustace before, we don’t know the levels of finance they would bring in terms of overhauling the squad – but we’re probably a bit early in the process for that as they have to buy the club first.”

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