Danish-American businessman Thomas Sandgaard hopes to be the new owner of Charlton Athletic before the start of the 2020/21 season.
Sandgaard has been vocal about his desire to purchase the Addicks from East Street Investments (ESI) and spoke to talkSPORT on Thursday to outline his ambitions for the League One club.
Charlton’s future was thrown into doubt when three individuals from ESI failed the English Football League’s directors’ and owners’ test earlier this month.
ESI only purchased Charlton from Roland Duchatelet for £1 in January, with an agreement to purchase the training ground and The Valley for £50million later down the line.
Ownership of the company was then transferred from Tahnoon Nimer to Manchester-based businessman Paul Elliott in June. However, that application was rejected by the EFL after three individuals failed their owners’ and directors’ test.
Now Sandgaard – a millionaire who runs a medical technology company – is in talks with Nimer and Duchatelet over doing a deal for the south London outfit, who were relegated from the Championship last season.
When asked how real his interest is in buying Charlton, Sandgaard told Jim White on talkSPORT: “It’s very real. To be honest, negotiating is going very smoothly. All the parties involved have shown a very clear interest in making it happen.
“We are putting it all together and in a few days we will have the structure of a deal to make this happen. I’m very excited. It’s only taken a few weeks to get to this point.
“The current owner, as we learnt from the decision from the EFL, is Tahnoon Nimer and his part-owner Matt Southall. Obviously, for the stadium and training ground we are dealing with Roland Duchatelet from Belgium and that is fortunately also progressing as well. I’m very optimistic.
“My ultimate goal is to make sure all these three key parts are under the same roof. The club, the stadium and the training ground. The training ground is beautiful. When I was out there a couple of weeks ago, I saw it was like the training grounds for Arsenal and Tottenham level. The stadium is beautiful too.
“Hopefully we will be done with COVID soon and we can pack that stadium. Ideally, I will get all these elements under the same roof.
“I’m so determined to buy the club, even if there’s an arrangement over a 10 or 20 year period that makes it possible to play football at The Valley that’s how we are going to do it.”
A potential stumbling block that Sandgaard could face is a possible injunction against a sale, which is being sought by Elliott – who was announced as ESI’s new owner in June before failing to gain approval by the EFL.
The 62-year-old, though, insisted that this should not be an issue.
He said: “That’s is not a problem. We still have a structure of a deal in place when it comes to that. I’m not worried about that part. We are slowly getting all the other pieces together. That will take care of itself.
“It’s not the only club leading up to a sale who have had injunctions like that. You’ve seen big clubs, even Liverpool have been through that process.”
Charlton were relegated to League One on the final day of the 2019/20 season but Sandgaard believes the infrastructure is in place for the club to be successful.
He said: “What I see with Charlton is a foundation that is just amazing and the more I get to know about it as I’m going through the process I see it more and more.
“We all know about the fan base, it’s probably one of the most supported fan bases in all of England. The structure is there. You already have a team, good coaches and everything in place.
“There is also the academy, I’ve been very impressed with how that is run.
“There’s the women’s team and whole community support, which is very dear to me, and I do quite a bit of that here in the United States.
“The only thing that is a problem is at the boardroom and ownership level.
“That is something I’m not worried about. I’m comfortable in dealing with and hopefully we can get it all straightened out, hopefully in days if not a matter of weeks. Hopefully before the season starts.”
Sandgaard also insisted he wanted to keep manager Lee Bowyer on board and stressed that he was in it for the long haul.
“Let’s put a big round number on it. Let’s call it 100 years,” he said.
“After the stability, I hope we can do a Leicester again and we can blow everybody’s mind and get to play some European football but that will take a while.”