Published September 19, 2013
MILAN (AFP) – Inter Milan are edging closer to a deal with businessman Erick Thohir that would see the Indonesian tycoon acquire a majority share in the Serie A giants, reports said Thursday.
Thohir has been linked with a takeover of the Italian club since last season, which Inter finished in a disappointing ninth place, failing to qualify for European competition in the process.
Inter president Massimo Moratti and Thohir met twice, in May and June, this year but failed to reach agreement.
But reports in La Gazzetta dello Sport newspaper on Thursday said the pair had held talks in Paris this week and had made "significant progress" towards signing a deal that would see Thohir acquire a majority 70% stake.
Neither Moratti, who made his fortune in the oil industry, nor Thohir were quoted in the report.
Inter, the last Italian side to win the Champions League, in 2010 when they won the treble under Jose Mourinho, are reported to be desperate for a move away from the San Siro ground they share with city rivals AC Milan.
However Moratti also wants the club to take advantage of ripe markets in Asia which English Premiership giants like Manchester United have exploited.
Moratti told media last month he was still keen to attract investment that would help further promote the club worldwide.
"As a club Inter needs to expand and break into new markets. And with Erick (on board) this would be possible," Moratti was quoted as saying on August 3.
Gazzetta's report on Thursday claimed that Indonesia, which has the world's largest muslim population, already boasted 11 million Inter fans.
Gazzetta quoted unnamed sources close to Thohir as saying this week: "Erick is very excited."