New Leicester City owner Vichai Raksriaksorn has the finances to take club into Premier League
Vichai Raksriaksorn, the Thai millionaire behind the takeover of Leicester City, is the real deal and has the finances to take City to the Premier League, according to a leading Thai journalist.
Wanchai Rujawongsanti of the Bangkok Post, said Vichai, who is the driving force behind the Asian Football Investments consortium which bought 100 per cent of the club from Milan Mandaric last week, is certainly rich enough to make a significant investment in the club.
The 51-year-old is ranked 27th on the Forbes list of the richest men in Thailand, with an estimated fortune of about £115million, and he said Paulo Sousa could have more than £10 million to spend on new players, during a press conference on Wednesday.
Raksriaksorn, whose 25-year-old son Aiyawatt heads up the controlling consortium at City, owns King Power, which has the monopoly on the retail at Bangkok's Suvamabhumi Airport. The company is said to still be performing well, although it suffered when protestors shut down the airport last November amid political unrest in the country.
Business Cards From Only £10.95 Delivered www.myprint-247.co.ukView details
Our heavyweight cards have FREE UV silk coating, FREE next day delivery & VAT included. Choose from 1000's of pre-designed templates or upload your own artwork. Orders dispatched within 24hrs.
Terms: Visit our site for more products: Business Cards, Compliment Slips, Letterheads, Leaflets, Postcards, Posters & much more. All items are free next day delivery. www.myprint-247.co.uk
Contact: 01858 468192
Valid until: Wednesday, May 22 2013
The company is also considered in some quarters to be associated with ousted former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra because he gave King Power the airport contract before he was overthrown in a military coup.
However, it has not dramatically affected the company's performance.
"I don't know how they became rich, but they do have money," said Rujawongsanti.
"I think Vichai is one of the richest men in Thailand. It is up to them if they really want to make Leicester a better side with huge investment, but they have the resources.''
Rujawongsanti said the deal would certainly benefit Thai football, especially if young players are allowed to link up with the City academy, but he doubted whether it would have a significant impact on raising the club's profile in Asia.
A pre-season tour of Thailand has been mentioned for next summer as part of the deal, but Rujawongsanti said the visit of City may not generate massive interest. "Leicester could become a popular team in Thailand if they have Thai players who are in the first team and play regularly," he said.
"But I don't think they would be able to become a popular side in Asia. Fans in this part of the world are only crazy about top Premier League sides such as Manchester United, Liverpool, Chelsea and Arsenal. Only the likes of those clubs, plus Real Madrid and Barcelona, get a full house when they come to Thailand.
"When Europa League champions Atletico Madrid came here a few weeks ago, we saw only a half-full stadium.
"I am sure that Leicester would not get a big crowd if they come here, even with Thai players on their team.
"I'm not sure if the Raksriaksorn family can ask the club to accept Thai players for training, but if they can, it would be good for Thai players.
"I think there are quite a lot of young Thai players who are good enough to play in the Championship. However, they need proper training and guidance to move to another level.
"Training at Leicester Academy may make them better players.''