March 13, 2017 / 5:19 PM / in 4 months

Palermo a better investment than Chelsea, says new president

2 Min Read

MILAN (Reuters) - Relegation-threatened Serie A club Palermo are a better investment than English Premier League leaders Chelsea, their new president Paul Baccaglini said on Monday.

Baccaglini, who was born in the United States to an American father and Italian mother, was named as the new president one week ago after his fund agreed to take over the Sicilian club.

He replaced the eccentric Maurizio Zamparini, who had been in charge since 2002 and oversaw nearly 40 coaching changes during his 15 years at the helm.

Palermo lost 3-0 at home to AS Roma on Sunday night, leaving them stuck in the Serie A relegation zone and seven points adrift of safety, but Baccaglini said he remained optimistic about their future.

"First of all, Palermo represents an enormous chance to give value to an extraordinary city - the fifth in Italia, and the beacon of the south," he told a radio programme broadcast by Rai.

"If I were to buy Chelsea for 1.5 billion euros (1.3 billion pounds), I can sell it, if I do really well, for 1.8 billion. Palermo, on the other hand, allows me to foresee a much bigger profit margin."

Baccaglini, who has no previous experience in soccer administration, said the club was in a safe pair of hands.

"The first person who had to be convinced of the operation was Zamparini, the negotiations lasted for months and everything was discussed with him," he said.

"If he continued with the project, it is because he has seen all the guarantees that, for privacy reasons, are not in the public domain."

Neither Palermo nor Baccaglini have said how much the deal was worth.

Baccaglini also praised the club's fans.

“After a week, all my doubts were dispelled," he said. "The Palermo fans are great people, they give so much without asking for anything."

($1 = 0.9376 euros)

Writing by Brian Homewood; Editing by Mark Potter

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