The takeover of Birmingham City by Gianni Paladini’s Italian consortium is moving closer – with the businessman claiming a deal can be struck within ten days.

The news comes as the group were granted permission to look through the books of parent company, Birmingham International Holdings Limited.

A second, improved bid worth around £30 million was formally lodged with Carson Yeung and Peter Pannu almost a fortnight ago.

Although it was rejected, negotiations continued about its actual structure.

Now, slowly but surely, it appears that Paladini and his people are near to finalising matters.

And they intend to keep Lee Clark as manager and provide him with funds for the January transfer window.

“We want to get a deal done very soon,” said former QPR chairman Paladini.

“I am hopeful that we can get something agreed within the next ten days. I still believe Birmingham can get into the play-offs and our intention is to sign four or five players in January to help the manager strengthen the squad.

“We have spent a lot of money trying to get this completed and are looking through the books. We are keen to get it all sorted by the end of next week.”

The bid revolves around an initial £17 million down payment, with the rest in instalments.

Lawyers representing both parties have been arranging the finer details.

Pannu, Blues acting chairman and chief executive officer and managing director of BIHL, has been leading the sale process.

He had interest from a mystery Chinese-Hong Kong consortium, but that appears to have fizzled out.

Certainly, the Italian group’s bid is the most serious and the only formal one to have been put before Yeung and Pannu.

Although Paladini is keen for matters to be sorted within ten days, any formal changeover in power will take a lot longer.

An EGM of BIHL has to be called and shareholders need to vote on the bid. That could be a four week process, at least.

BIHL’s main asset is Blues. It has a 96 per cent stake in the club.

Yeung, Blues president, has 26 per cent of BIHL.

Yeung is due to stand trial in Hong Kong to answer charges relating to alleged £59.7 million worth of money laundering on November 28.

But the outcome of his court case – either way – is not necessarily going to impact on the potential sale of Blues.