Football

Lim's takeover can revive Valencia's fortunes

Valencia coach Nuno Espirito Santo believes an expected takeover by Singaporean billionaire Peter Lim can bring the glory days back to the club after years of financial problems.

The protracted deal, which has been under negotiation before January, has still not been signed and sealed but this should now take place in the coming weeks and Lim (below) has already been active behind the scenes over transfer dealings.

His aim is to return the La Liga club to the top of the European game - they kick off the new campaign at Sevilla on Saturday - and media reports say he is ready to invest 50 million euros ($83m) on his arrival.

"The takeover has been going on for some time and, we know that when it is finished, we will be a lot stronger," said Santo.

"I told him (Lim) that his dreams for the club can become a reality. He is going to come because the fans want him and because he wants to come to the Mestalla, a club who, for those now here, are well prepared and organised.

"The players coming in must bring expectation, desire to work and look to improve because they are going to find a group who are very motivated.

"While there are places for new players, the most important thing is that those who come are the players we want."

Club president Amadeo Salvo was treated like a hero by fans on his return to Valencia airport last Saturday after meeting Lim in Singapore.

Such is the excitement over what a new era could bring.

"It is a step further in a long process but the end will arrive in a few weeks," Salva said at the airport.

"Lim will come when the agreement is effective."

One of the club's first moves in the close season was to appoint Santo as coach after Argentina-born coach Juan Antonio Pizzi was sacked following a disappointing campaign in which they finished out of the European places in eighth.

Lim gave his backing to former Deportivo La Coruna and Porto goalkeeper Santo, who is represented by powerful Portuguese agent Jorge Mendes - a business partner of Lim's in the firm Quality Sports Investments.

Valencia have reinforced their squad well with promising striker Rodrigo Moreno from Benfica the pick of the newcomers.

The 23-year-old played for Real Madrid and Spain at youth level and arrives at the Mestalla on a one-year loan, although the move will become permanent if Lim takes charge.

DEBTS

Valencia have seen Jeremy Mathieu leave for Barcelona, but the club's new outlook was shown when they refused to sell the French defender for less than his buy-out clause of 20m euros.

It is a turnaround for a club who, in recent seasons, have been forced to sell their top players such as David Silva, David Villa and Juan Mata to pay off debts.

Lim's expected takeover will include a deal with main creditor Bankia to settle the current debt the club have with the bank, which is in the region of 320m euros.

Valencia won La Liga in 2002 and 2004 and, during a halcyon period in their history, they were Champions League finalists in 2000 and 2001 and won the 2004 Uefa Cup.

However, they have not won any silverware since the 2008 Copa del Rey and, while the fans' expectations have remained high, financial restrictions have taken their toll. - Reuters.