Liverpool have moved a step closer to resolving their financial future with "six or seven" potential investors vying to take a majority stake in the club.
The first to declare its hand is the Rhone Group, a US fund management firm, run by billionaires Robert Agostinelli and Steven Langman, which has expressed an interest in buying a stake of at least 34 per cent for around £100 million.
That would substantially dilute the holdings of owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett and break the boardroom stalemate which has hamstrung the club for more than two years.
However, Liverpool remain hopeful of receiving a number of competing offers before the Easter deadline set by the club's managing director, Christian Purslow.
Six other interested parties are believed to be considering proposals entailing either partial investment or a wholesale buyout of Hicks and Gillett. Those offers would be put to the club's board by Purslow, with sources at Liverpool hopeful of securing new investment "in good time" for the start of next season.
Regardless of which offer is accepted, any cash infusion raised by a share issue would be used to pay down the £237 million debt laden on to the club by Hicks and Gillett, a condition laid down by the Royal Bank of Scotland if the two Americans are to refinance loans held by the Government-controlled bank in July.
But an end to the search for investment started last year by Purslow would free up the working capital to enable work to start on the club's long-awaited new stadium on Stanley Park this year, as well as, crucially, allowing Liverpool to strengthen their playing staff.
The club's manager, Rafael Benítez, has been forced to spend only what he raises in the transfer market for the past two years and the prospect of the funds being available to provide the "four or five" front-line signings Fernando Torres suggested on Saturday are key to his and Liverpool's future without fresh investment are distant.
The Spain international is known to harbour concerns over Liverpool's ability to compete for the major honours he so craves, and made the first public expression of his doubts when he called on the club to "make an effort" this summer to bring in the players needed to compete not for fourth place, but for the league title.
"His main motivation is winning trophies," said Benítez. "He wants to be playing in the Champions League, but it is not just him. We all want that."
But while the arrival of Rhone's offer may signal the beginning of the end for Hicks and Gillett, doubts remain as to whether any investor would be willing to inject so much cash without taking at least a 51 per cent stake, thereby guaranteeing overall control.