Josh Harris is set to become the fifth American owner of a Premier League team.
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Harris, 49, is said to be in advanced talks to buy South London side Crystal Palace, as the current owner of the NBA’s Philadelphia 76ers and the NHL’s New Jersey Devils will soon start due diligence over a deal to buy the club.
It is understood that Harris has already attended games at Selhurst Park this season and is looking to close the deal for the Eagles with sources close to the takeover stating that it is ’90 percent done’ and current co-owner Steve Parish will stay on to run the day-to-day operations.
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Palace currently sit in 16th in the PL and are coming off their third-best finish in club history as they were in 11th place in the PL during the 2013-14 season. With Tony Pulis at the helm last season, newly-promoted Palace earned $120 million in prize money and TV revenue alone and now co-owners Parish, Martin Long, Steve Browett and Jeremy Hosking — who saved the club in 2010 when they formed the CPFC 2010 consortium to buy the ailing club — are set to cash in.
However Parish was somewhat coy when asked about the Harris’ possible takeover, saying “I’ve always said that if somebody wanted to invest in the club and move it forward quicker than I or we (CPFC 2010) can then we would entertain it. We look at all possibilities that are out there – and there are many – but people have been quite ahead of themselves on this one.”
Harris’ brief history in the sports world has been somewhat controversial so far, as the co-founder of Apollo Global Management has been under intense criticism from many over the way he’s run the Philadelphia 76ers since buying the franchise in 2011.
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Purposely aiming to get the best draft picks each year, Harris has enraged fellow NBA owners by making his team the worst in the league in the short term as he plans to build the Sixers into one of the best teams in basketball.
Known as someone who thinks outside the box and believes in analytics in sport, Harris could be the man to help take Palace and their fanatical fanbase into a brave new world. With his funding, the Eagles could keep soaring in the Premier League for many years to come as they enjoy their first ever back-to-back seasons in the PL.
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Reports from the Guardian suggest that the American businessman was interested in buying Aston Villa from his countryman Randy Lerner but was put off by the $320 million pricetag and sees Palace as a more attractive option due to their location in London.
If this deal does go through, Harris will join Lerner (Aston Villa), Ellis Short (Sunderland), John W. Henry (Liverpool) and The Glazer Family (Manchester United) as American owners in the PL, while American Shahid Khan saw his Fulham team drop out of the PL last season.