Fears have been expressed today over the future of Liverpool’s bid to sign Gareth Barry as the club’s ownership battle threatens to flare up again.
The fact the club’s American owners, Tom Hicks and George Gillett, have yet to produce the promised short-term loan to allow boss Rafael Benitez to complete the £18million transfer has promoted speculation the deal could soon be dead.
Benitez has waited all week for money to be put in place to allow him to end the Barry saga before he sells any more players to fund the deal.
But the longer the delay, the more likely it becomes that Benitez could be forced to abandon the long-drawn-out deal.
The failure to produce funds which Benitez expected a week ago has prompted long-term suitors Dubai International Capital to let it be known they are still waiting in the wings with their own proposals for the club.
A source close to DIC said: “Just because it is has been a quiet summer does not mean DIC have lost interest. They are happy that things have now become low key, and they are awaiting developments.”
And there is also speculation a former prospective buyer of the club, and several rich American-based Liverpool fans, have let it be known they are prepared to help the club out of their cash problems.
Observers believe plans for the new stadium have as yet not included confirmed building contracts or the lease being agreed with the local council.
The club’s owners are also going to have to find cash soon to fund the stadium as well as re-finance the current loans.
A Liverpool Council spokesman explained the current situation over the lease for Stanley Park, claiming it should be signed in a month.
He said: “It is normal legal procedure for companies to wait three months after the granting of planning permission before signing the lease.
“This is because under planning laws, the public have a right of appeal for three months after the planning permission is given.
“We expect the lease on Stanley Park to be signed in a matter of weeks.”
But the delay over the Barry deal is beginning to embarrass Liverpool. As soon as it was suggested the American owners were looking to borrow money to fund the deal, there were City sources – admittedly close to the DIC bid – who insisted borrowing would be difficult in the current climate.