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Real escape with hope of progress

What the papers say
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Paladini consortium in Birmingham offer

A consortium led by Gianni Paladini is reported to have offered around £30 million to take control of Championship club Birmingham City, according to reports.

BBC West Midlands said Paladini, who is based in nearby Solihull, had submitted the offer to acting Birmingham chairman Peter Pannu.

The development comes only a few weeks after Pannu told reporters that he was in talks with two groups interested in taking over at St Andrews.

This is believed to be the second attempt the Paladini consortium has made to buy the Blues, who are 17th in the table, with an offer of around £5 million less having been turned down earlier in the year.

Birmingham have had a turbulent recent time financially, with part-owner Carson Yeung due to be tried in Hong Kong on money-laundering charges. That means any formal bid would need to be announced to the Hong Kong Stock Exchange.

In March, a transfer embargo was placed on the club after they failed to file their accounts for 2010-11 on time - the second successive year in which they had not been filed on time.

Although Birmingham have not been officially put on the market, Pannu - the chairman of the club's holding company, Birmingham International Holdings Ltd - had said he was looking for investment.

Paladini, who left QPR in 2011 after almost eight years at Loftus Road, is understood to be keen for the deal to be completed before the New Year, which would mean the Blues could avoid needing to sell stars including goalkeeper Jack Butland in the January transfer window.

Although the process appears to be moving fairly quickly, it is unclear when Paladini could receive a response from the club.

But with other potential bidders appearing to have cooled their interest, he looks to be firm favourite.

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