By Kieran Maguire

17th Jun, 2022 | 9:38am

Kieran Maguire: West Ham chief David Sullivan looking to pull off £35m deal via the backdoor

West Ham co-owner David Sullivan is using Laurence Bassini as a smokescreen in his bid to ultimately take over Birmingham City.

That is the view of finance guru Kieran Maguire, speaking exclusively to Football Insider about the Welsh-born businessman’s ambitions to remain in football beyond West Ham.

Sullivan and his business partner David Gold have an agreement in place to sell their remaining equity in the Irons to Daniel Kretinsky after a windfall tax clause expires next year.

Bassini meanwhile appears to be on the verge of his own takeover of Birmingham.

As quoted by Birmingham Live on Wednesday (15 June), the 52-year-old has revealed that Sullivan is partially funding his £35million bid to take the reigns at St Andrew’s.

Bassini is a controversial character and his short spell as Watford owner was characterised by allegations of financial impropriety.

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Maguire examined why Sullivan, who himself owned Birmingham between 1993 and 2009, would want to make bedfellows with Bassini.

“He wants to use Bassini as a holding operation,” he told Football Insider’s Adam Williams.

“Sullivan, if he waits another 12 months with the Government agencies to expire, he is in a position to keep all the profits from the potential sale of West Ham.

“He is still very interested in football and he’s got a historic relationship with Birmingham. Having Bassini there is another way to take the heat off himself.

“If Bassini’s experience at Birmingham is anything similar to what happened at Watford, you’d imagine Sullivan would be welcomed with open arms.

“But you can’t have significant stakes in two football clubs at once. Having Bassini there in the meantime will not do him any harm, especially given the comments he made about he himself not intending to be a board member.

In other news, Gabby Agbonlahor lambasts Michael Keane and can’t believe West Ham source’s reveal.