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Oct 7, 2009

Oil magnate targets Milan bid

Albanian oil magnate Rezart Taci claims he would have "no problem" in shelling out 700 million euros to buy AC Milan if owner Silvio Berlusconi decided to sell the club.

• Leonardo vows to fight on

Speculation that Berlusconi will sell has increased since a Milan administrative court ruled the Italian premier's holding company, Fininvest, must pay 750 million euros ($1.11 billion) to rival CIR for bribing a judge in a 1990s battle to buy Italy's biggest publisher Mondadori.

Fininvest has repeatedly denied Berlusconi has any intention to sell, though Arab investors have also been linked to the club.

"(Spending 700 million euros) is no problem," Taci told La Gazzetta dello Sport. "My group is used to taking on big commitments and seeing them through to the end. I'm sure I can find the necessary financing."

The 700 million euros figure matches analysts' valuation of seven-times European champions Milan, who are currently struggling for form, having only won two of their opening seven matches.

Manager Leonardo has been backed to continue though any takeover would bring his position into question, with former striker Marco van Basten being touted as a possible replacement.

Taci said he had talked to Berlusconi about buying the club and would be happy to buy the Rossoneri outright, let the Italian premeir stay on as a minority shareholder or acquire a minority stake himself. But he promised the club would prosper if he took over.

"He told me that he does not intend to sell, but I know that if he decided to, he would take my proposal into consideration."

and would be happy to buy the club outright or let Berlusconi stay on as a minority shareholder or acquire a minority stake himself. But he promised the club would prosper if he took over.

"I guarantee that I would do everything to keep Milan where they deserve to be -- at the top of the world."

Taci admitted that his bid to buy Serie A side Bologna in the close season fell through because his hopes were raised that he might be able to snap up Milan.

"As a Milan fan I thought it was best to be patient for a little while," he said. "Why kid on people of Bologna if there was the chance a bigger door would open in the meantime?"

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