Just weeks after Newcastle were purchased for £305 million by a consortium headed by Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund, it appears that West Ham could be the next Premier League club to receive significant outside investment - with Czech-based billionaire Daniel Kretinsky reportedly ready to splash out £189m for a stake in the Hammers.
Business partners David Sullivan and David Gold have owned the majority of the East London outfit since 2010. However, Kretinsky is set to come on board within the next few days in a deal that will eventually see him take full control of the club.
According to a tweet from Sky News editor Mark Kleinman, Kretinsky is in 'advanced negotiations' to secure a 27 per cent stake in West Ham. A further report from Sky Sports states that the businessman will have the option to take complete ownership of the club after an unspecified period.
Who is Daniel Kretinsky?
The 46-year-old entrepreneur, who is a lawyer by trade, is no stranger to the world of football. He has owned Czech side Sparta Prague since 2004, but that is only the start of his vast business empire.
Kretinsky has amassed an impressive portfolio of interests, including a 49 per cent stake in French newspaper Le Monde - as well as Foot Locker and Macy's.
He has also become increasingly active in the United Kingdom over the past few years. A 15 per cent stake in Royal Mail, on top of a 10% ownership of Sainsbury's, are two of his more significant shareholdings.
What is Daniel Kretinsky worth?
Overall, Kretinsky is estimated by Forbes to be worth around £3 billion. The sum of around £700m that he would need to part with in order to take full control of West Ham, then, isn't likely to concern him too much.
Of course, that £3bn is nowhere close to the £320bn Newcastle's new owners are reportedly worth, but it certainly proves Kretinsky has the resources to drastically transform the West Ham squad.
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With two of Kretinsky's countrymen, Tomas Soucek and Vladimir Coufal, being key players at the London Stadium, the appeal of West Ham to the Czech business mogul isn't hard to understand.
David Moyes' men currently sit in fourth place in the Premier League table, a spot which would see them qualify for the Champions League should they maintain it.
With Kretinsky's backing, the chances of that happening increase hugely. If he has his way, West Ham might soon be a regular presence in European football's top club competition.
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