US businessman Robert Kraft has admitted he came "very close" to buying Liverpool in 2005, but was ultimately put off by the absence of a cap on players' wages, reports The Guardian.
Kraft, whose family own the NFL's New England Patriots and Major League Soccer's New England Revolution, also had concerns about the need for a new stadium but said that would not have stopped him from going ahead with the deal.
"I wanted to [take over] Liverpool," said Kraft. "I met with [the then chairman] David Moores, who is a fine gentleman, and we came very close to buying it, very close. But in the end my instinct was – without a salary cap, or a stadium ... I wasn't sure how we'd get a stadium built quickly and efficiently. But the more important issue was the salary cap. If the salary cap was there, we would have done it."
A self-professed Anglophile, Kraft also said he was fond of Liverpool, noting that the Revolution's coach, Steve Nicol, used to play there and praised the club's fans for their loyalty and passion. He added, however, that they were not the only club he would consider investing in if a cap were in place.
"If [the salary cap] came here, I would buy a team in a minute because we think we know how to run a sports franchise," he said.
"We have stuff sent to us all the time, but I think deep down, until there was some kind of salary cap structure I couldn't go ahead with it … unless there was a great business steal. But I don't like to go into a team because of the real estate or anything like that. If you buy a team in a sports league, it's about winning – that's the bottom line. You want to be playing by the same rules, so it's not just about who has the most money."