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English Championship club Leeds United Chair Ken Bates has "entered talks with an American investor who would offer major funding to improve the first-team squad at Elland Road," according to Duncan Castles of the THE NATIONAL. The new proposal has advanced rapidly with the American understood to have "discussed the number of reinforcements required to bankroll promotion" to the EPL. The deal would be for a percentage of Bates' majority shareholding in Leeds. The 80-year-old former Chelsea owner will stay on as chairman with an agreement in place to sell the remainder of his stake when he ultimately decides to retire from football. Bates said: "We are well advanced with our discussions. We had a very positive meeting yesterday and the potential investors are looking now to get this matter concluded as soon as possible" (THE NATIONAL, 9/23). The PA wrote the Championship side said that it was "in exclusive discussions with unnamed investors" on June 26, but since then "little has happened to appease fans who have grown increasingly disgruntled with a perceived lack of investment." Bates has "rarely been popular with Leeds supporters," and his overseeing of their relegation to League One "did little to help." Levels of unrest have grown over recent months, with regular protests being staged against his continued ownership (PA, 9/22).
EPL club Tottenham Hotspur is hoping to appoint Franco Baldini as director of football to work alongside Head Coach Andre Villas-Boas, according to Jason Burt of the London TELEGRAPH. Chair Daniel Levy is convinced that the new structure is the way ahead for the EPL club and will be "another show of faith in the new head coach." Sources have "dismissed any suggestion that Villas-Boas is under pressure and are hugely impressed by the way he has gone about his job and helping re-organise the club." Baldini, who was Fabio Capello’s No. 2 with England, is "a strong contender for the role, but Spurs will have to work hard to lure him from his present role at AS Roma." Baldini has a good relationship with Villas-Boas and had wanted to take him to Roma, where he is general manager, before the Portuguese was appointed by Chelsea last year. If the Spurs did manage to hire Baldini it would represent a "real coup and a serious sign of intent that the club wants to become a power in European football" (TELEGRAPH, 9/22).