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Soccer-Valencia offered cash injection by Singapore billionaire

Reuters

BARCELONA, Dec 22 (Reuters) - Debt-ridden Valencia have an offer on the table from Singapore billionaire Peter Lim to pump money into the club with a view to becoming one of the top sides in Europe.

Club president Amadeo Salvo has been searching for investors with Spanish banking conglomerate Bankia, which is owed 300 million euros ($410 million) by Valencia, having pushed for the club to be put up for sale as they consider the debt to be unsurmountable.

Valencia have been forced to off-load leading players including David Villa, Jordi Alba and David Silva in recent seasons to raise capital while they also have a half-completed stadium.

The arrival of Lim could offer a new dawn for the club and the plan would be for him to buy the 70 per cent share belonging to the Valencia Foundation.

"The aim is to build a competitive team to fight for titles in Spain and Europe," Salvo told a news conference.

Lim is ready to invest between 30m and 50m euros in the January transfer window with the aim of winning a place in the Champions League.

"The plan has always been to find finance and we had a business plan. We went to China and we were with Wanda talking about the stadium. We were in the Middle East and in Singapore. We met Mr Lim on November 2 and he was interested in the project. The potential at Valencia is huge."

The club are now waiting for Bankia's reply to the offer which has a deadline of Jan. 15.

"Mr Lim called us and came to Valencia to meet with the board, the vice president and president of the Foundation. He promises to get rid of the debt and build a competitive team by investing an important amount. Before we accept the offer, which is among the biggest two or three for clubs in the world, we need to hear from Bankia."

Valencia were the last club to break the hegemony of Barcelona and Real Madrid in Spain when they won La Liga in 2002 and 2004.

In a golden spell in their history they were Champions League finalists in 2000 and 2001 and won the 2004 UEFA Cup.

Although expectations have remained high among fans since, financial restrictions have meant they have not been able to maintain the same level.

Their last silverware was the 2008 King's Cup and they failed to qualify for this season's Champions League following a fifth-place La Liga finish.

Coach Miroslav Djukic was sacked last week with the team in 11th place in the table.

($1 = 0.7315 euros) (Reporting by Tim Hanlon, editing by Ed Osmond)

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