Blackburn fans hoping to see their team competing with Manchester City and Chelsea to sign star players are likely to be disappointed after the Indian company trying to buy it said Wednesday it will spend only 5 million pounds ($7.9 million) in the January transfer window.
Asian poultry giant Venky's has agreed to pay 46 million pounds ($73 million) for the Premier League club but company chairperson Anuradha J. Desai said that lavish spending is not on the agenda. Unlike Manchester City _ which has spent more than 300 million pounds on players since being bought by Abu Dhabi's Sheikh Mansour in 2008 _ Blackburn will likely depend upon loan signings to strengthen a side that is above the relegation zone only on goal difference.
"We won't need to buy expensive players, we can always lease them," Desai said. "We don't expect to be in the top five of the Premier League. We will be happy to be in the top 10 to 12." That means Blackburn is unlikely to break its 9-year-old transfer record any time soon. Blackburn paid Manchester United 8 million pounds for striker Andy Cole in December 2001, but has since spent more than 5 million pounds on a player only twice. Manchester City's record signing is the 32.5 million pound Robinho, while Chelsea and billionaire owner Roman Abramovich spent 30 million pounds on Andriy Shevchenko in 2006.
Venky's is owned by the V.H. Group, which Desai said was buying Blackburn to gain international publicity.
"Football is a global craze and as the V.H. Group globalizes, setting up feed plants and hatcheries around the world, we believe we can benefit from being owners of a major football club," Desai said. "It will help build our brand."
Desai told Indian newspaper The Economic Times that Indian companies and multinationals had already approached Venky's to ask about the prospect of sponsoring the northwest England team's shirts and stadium.
Venky's managing director, B. Venkatesh Rao, said Tuesday that the completion of the takeover would be announced within 10 days. The poultry farming and pharmaceuticals specialist would be the first Indian company to own a Premier League team. Manchester United, Aston Villa, Sunderland and Liverpool are owned by Americans, while Chelsea, Manchester City, Birmingham and Fulham also have non-British owners.
Blackburn has been largely mediocre since winning the 1995 Premier League title and was put up for sale two years ago by the Jack Walker Trust.