Ready for a Friday morning panic attack? The Evening Standard is reporting today that Pakistani-American billionaire Shahid Khan is interested in going all-in on Tottenham Hotspur. Reportedly, Khan wants to purchase Tottenham and eventually relocate the NFL's Jacksonville Jaguars to London.
I'll just let that simmer for a while. OK, stop. Breathe in. Slowly. That's it.
Khan should be fairly well known to many of you. The owner of auto parts manufacturing empire Flex-N-Gate, Khan also owns the NFL's Jaguars, as well as Fulham FC, which he purchased in 2013 from Mohamed al Fayed. While during his tenure Fulham was relegated to the Championship and doesn't appear to be in the running for promotion back to the EPL anytime soon, the NFL's Jaguars has done well off the field (if not on it) under his leadership, with income increasing in part due to an arrangement to play NFL games in London's Wembley Stadium. In the UK, Khan was probably best known for a minor kerfluffle with former owner al Fayed after Khan took down the ill-advised statue of Michael Jackson in front of Craven Cottage.
According to the Standard, Tottenham's new stadium, which will be NFL-ready and will host at least two games a year when it opens in 2018, is extremely attractive to Khan. He's been open about desiring to transition the Jaguars into having more of an international presence and sees Tottenham and its new stadium as being the ideal confluence of broad international appeal and state-of-the-art facilities.
But here's where we delve into the murky realm of speculation. The Standard also reports that Khan's plans are at an "extremely formative stage" and that Khan has had no contact with Tottenham Hotspur whatsoever. Khan's plan is to sell Fulham and use the proceeds to help fund the purchase of Tottenham. Khan is said to be worth just over £4.5 billiion, and previous reports have had Tottenham owner Joe Lewis value Spurs at £1 billion. Khan purchased Fulham in 2013, just before relegation, for between £150m-200m. So unless Khan is willing to sink nearly 25% of his fortune into purchasing Spurs, the numbers just don't add up.
Nor have we been given any indication that Joe Lewis/ENIC is willing to sell the club. Last season there were reports of two separate American-backed investor groups sniffing around Tottenham – Cain Hoy and a cohort backed by the Carlysle Group – but neither came to anything in the end.
The completion of the new stadium would presumably make Spurs a very attractive target for new owners, which means that Spurs can probably expect to be linked to a number of new ownership groups. If ENIC were interested in selling, this would be the time for them to consider it. However, as it stands now, this report is the equivalent of Khan saying "Hey, wouldn't it be cool if..." to some friends at a cocktail party. Nothing to get particularly worried over, and certainly not anywhere near a concrete plan.
Update: Also there's this tweet from Sky journalist Lyall Thomas:
Would you want Shahid Khan as your new owner of Tottenham Hotspur? Give us your opinion in the comments.