More detail about Dozy Mmobuosi's proposed Sheffield United takeover required as boss focuses on football
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Second in the Championship table and 10 points clear of third place, United are about to enter a critical period of the season with Middlesbrough, their nearest challengers for an automatic promotion place, scheduled to visit South Yorkshire on Wednesday.
“We focus on what we can control,” Heckingbottom said last month, in response to questions about his employers’ ownership. “If we get results, it’s better for everyone concerned because they drive everything.”
Although Mmobuosi’s intervention was welcome, the Nigerian entrepreneur spoke in extremely broad terms about the thinking behind his proposed takeover from Prince Abdullah bin Musa’ad bin Abdulaziz Al Saud. Interviewed by former England defender Rio Ferdinand and CNN, Mmobuosi’s credentials are currently being scrutinised by the English Football League, who recently placed United under a transfer embargo for non-payment of debts, before it is decided whether his purchase can proceed.
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It remains unclear, although officials at the EFL will be aware of the details, how exactly it is being funded and Mmobuosi has yet to meet with the regional media after a series of attempts to establish contact this week either went unnoticed or were ignored.
News that American Henry Mauriss, who held protracted and detailed talks with United last year, has since been jailed for wire fraud, serves as a reminder it is judicious to reserve judgement about matters of this kind until all the facts are known.
Certainly, Mmobuosi’s comments about sustainability, sensible investment and the need to improve the experience for United fans struck a chord with many followers. But actions, as they have discovered of late, speak louder than words.
That should not be interpreted as a criticism of either Mmobuosi or his advisors. Because they will apply exactly the same measure to their dealings in the business world, where Mmobuosi was responsible for creating Tingo - a company which operates in a variety of different spheres including the mobile telecommunications sector. But until more flesh is put on the bones of his bid for United, it is impossible to reach an informed decision.
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During the build-up to Tuesday’s FA Cup win over Wrexham, informed sources were briefing that Heckingbottom has yet to be introduced to Mmobuosi - who indicated he had no intention of replacing the 45-year-old and his coaching staff should he replace Prince Abdullah at the helm.
When - or indeed if - they do meet, there will be plenty for them to discuss. Heckingbottom told The Star ahead of City’s visit that the financial situation behind the scenes has left a huge chunk of his squad in limbo because they can’t renegotiate fresh contracts. Lifting the EFL’s ban on new signings is United’s most pressing concern right now. But Heckingbottom’s success so far has been built on meticulous planning and, as he admitted, it is impossible to “know” what that looks like right now.
“We talk about things, of course we do,” he said. “But ultimately, (for us) it has to be about the football.”