Sheffield United takeover state of play after Dozy Mmobuosi's latest show of support

Sheffield United fans got their first public glimpse of their side’s would-be new owner Dozy Mmobuosi when he watched their victory at Reading on Tuesday night from the directors’ box in Berkshire.
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Mmobuosi’s presence at the game led many fans to speculate that his takeover of the Blades has been signed, sealed and delivered, after having a bid accepted by current owner Prince Abdullah towards the end of last year.

So, what’s the current state of play with the takeover and are we any nearer to a resolution?

The background

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A Nigerian businessman, Mmobuosi revealed in a series of high-profile media interviews earlier this year that his bid for the Blades was formulated over a pint of Guinness in a Sheffield pub.

Mmobuosi spoke of feeling the “energy” of the city during his visits, and of offering Blades fans representation on the board if and when he seizes control.

Dozy Mmobuosi wants to buy Sheffield UnitedDozy Mmobuosi wants to buy Sheffield United
Dozy Mmobuosi wants to buy Sheffield United

Mmobuosi and Prince Abdullah agreed a deal for the Blades last year, with the EFL then beginning the process to ensure the would-be United owner would pass their stringent checks.

What is the latest?

The latest public statement on Mmobuosi’s takeover bid came from the EFL last month, when they revealed they had asked a number of questions of both Mmobuosi and United and had yet to hear back. “Until the league is satisfied that the requirements of its regulations have been met, it will not process a change of control at the club.”

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Despite Mmobuosi’s appearance prompting speculation that a deal was close, it’s understood that the deal has not advanced in recent weeks and is still at the EFL stage. The Blades remain under a transfer embargo, over non-payment of transfer funds, and EFL boss Trevor Birch, a former chief executive at Bramall Lane, is thought to be taking particular interest in the deal for his former club.

What happens now?

Put simply, nothing until the EFL conclude either way if Mmobuosi’s deal can proceed. As part of their process, they check that potential owners have no criminal convictions, involvement with other clubs or any misconduct including dishonesty or corruption.

Mmobuosi will have to prove he has the funds to meet not only the agreed price with Prince Abdullah, but also sustain the club moving forward in line with his spending plans for the club.

What has been said so far?

United have not publicly commented on the takeover so far as part of the ongoing confidential process. Boss Paul Heckingbottom refused to be drawn on Tuesday’s victory in front of his potential new boss – “I only found that out today. So yeah,” he said – while Mmobuosi has been much more forthcoming in his plans for the Blades, should he take control.

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“To be very frank Sheffield United was opportunistic,” he said last month. “I felt the opportunity and grabbed it. I felt the energy in the city and the history the club has, it’s a no-brainer.

“I trust that they have the experts at the EFL doing their job. Within weeks of shaking hands we signed and certain deposits were paid. Where we are right now, at any given time the EFL sends us questions. We provide the answers quickly. We believe we have given everything but of course we’re open for more questions and more scrutiny.”

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