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By Humphrey Carter

PALMA

REAL Mallorca has been up for sale for the best part of the past five months and, until last week, only two people, Freddy Shepherd and Paul Davidson, both British millionaires, had shown any serious interest in the club. No sooner did Paul Davidson have a final offer accepted by Real Mallorca and was given the approval of the administrators handling chairman Vicente Grande's insolvency, alleged interest in the struggling football club exploded.

There certainly is interest in buying Vicente Grande's 93 percent controlling stake but, when the judge handling Grande's insolvency case returns to work after his summer holiday tomorrow morning (Monday), the only concrete offer on his table is going to be Davidson's which is understood to be in the region of 38 million euros.

However, the Austrian billionaire owner of Red Bull, Dietrich Mateschitz, proprietor of Red Bull Salzburg and Red Bull New York football clubs is understood to be circling and preparing an offer to trump Davidson's.

Yesterday, Paul Davidson said that he was aware of there being other parties interested in Mallorca but, in the best interests of the club, ruled out entering into a bidding war. “I could, but I'm not going to enter into a Dutch auction if new people start trying to out bid me. I don't want to prolong the club, players and fans' uncertainty any longer. I just want to take control of the club as soon as possible and get down to business. I don't want to make any drastic changes to the club (such as those being rumoured by Red Bull). I want the club to remain Majorcan. All I want to do is help build the club up, provide extra funds to strengthen the squad and help Vicente Grande and his team guide Real Mallorca back into European football while I bring new skills, industry and manufacturing to the island. “If the judge and Grande, who have to obviously consider the best interests of the creditors, decide to accept a better offer then fair enough. “But, this whole long, drawn out and complicated process I and my lawyers have been through over the past seven weeks will start all over again and the club could still be without a new owner and a cash injection come Christmas. “I don't want to be part of that. At last Tuesday's meeting, Grande and his team accepted the price and the terms of my offer - as did the administrators. The judge could rubber stamp my offer on Monday and we could simply get on with things right away. I can't do anymore. It's out of my hands now,” Davidson told the Bulletin.

Mateschitz's lawyers are understood to have spent last week looking over the club's books with a bid of around 50 million euros being banded about.
Freddy Shepherd is still being thrown into the race by the local Spanish media but, the Bulletin can confirm that Shepherd is neither prepared to enter into a bidding war nor pay over 20 million euros. He would prefer to pay what the club is worth and use the rest of the money to buy new players.

The Shepherd camp is still extremely interested, the administrators have tried to organise a meeting for the end of this coming week but, if they are expecting Shepherd to offer over 40 million euros, his advisors will not even bother getting on a plane.