Championship club Barnsley are in takeover talks with a Chinese based consortium according to reports.
The consortium, led by Chien Lee, already own French club Nice, and have helped them reach the Champions League this season as well as signing big name players like Mario Balotelli, Wesley Sneijder and Dante. The group, who are looking to add a championship club to their portfolio, also includes former American banker and billionaire Paul Conway.
It is claimed they have already spoken to Brentford and Middlesbrough with regards to a take over, but have now switched their attentions to the South Yorkshire club.
Barnsley have had a brilliant couple of seasons, winning the EFL Trophy and gaining promotion via the playoffs in 2015/16 before having an impressive first season back in the Championship last year under Paul Heckingbottom, finishing 14th.
However the club have been unable to compete with the rest of division financially and have had to sell off some of their best players over recent years. John Stones, Mason Holgate and Alfie Mawson all moved to the Premier League in recent years, while last season alone they had to cash in on Sam Winnall, Connor Hourihane and James Bree to fellow Championship clubs. There have been more big name departures this summer with Marc Roberts and Josh Scown leaving the club, while they have been picking some of the better players from the lower divisions. They simply are not able to compete with other clubs wages.
Current owner and local businessman Patrick Cryne is hero in the former mining town, keeping the club afloat since his takeover in 2004, but could now be ready to sell a majority share to Mr Lee’s group. Mr Cryne is undergoing treatment for Cancer and is known to be looking for investors as he takes a back step.
According to the Daily Mail, the Consortium are not planning on pumping in millions of pounds to make Barnsley into the next Manchester City or Chelsea, but are planning to invest enough to make them financially competitive and hopefully towards the riches of the Premier League.
Barnsley are of course one of the 49 teams to have played in the Premier League, when they finished 19th back in 1997/98. They will be hoping to follow in the path of Yorkshire rivals Huddersfield who stunned the League last season, winning the playoffs to reach the Premier League.
Barnsley currently sit in 17th in the Championship after one win and two defeats so far this season, and encounter their first of four South Yorkshire derbies this lunchtime against Sheffield United.