A group of American investors led by Los Angeles-based businessman Brett Johnson is on the verge of buying Ipswich Town for £17.5 million, The Athletic understands.
The League One club have been owned by British multi-millionaire Marcus Evans since December 2007 but the 57-year-old has been in talks with various parties for at least six months, having poured more than £100 million of his wealth into the club over the last 13 years. Evans is understood to be writing off that debt, giving Johnson’s group a clean slate.
Johnson’s group would like Bristol City chief executive Mark Ashton to take over the day-to-day running of Ipswich but he is understood to be happy in Bristol for the time being, particularly as the Championship club have just appointed Nigel Pearson as their new manager and are about to open a state-of-the-art new training ground.
There is one staffing change that does appear to be imminent at Portman Road, though, as manager Paul Lambert is set to be replaced by former Wigan Athletic boss Paul Cook.
Lambert took charge in October 2018 but was unable to prevent Ipswich’s relegation from the Championship, which ended a 17-year stay in England’s second tier. Ipswich started their first season in League One well under the 51-year-old Scot but faded to finish in 11th place, their lowest finish since 1953.
This season has followed a similar pattern, with a bright start fizzling out, leading to calls for Lambert’s sacking and protests by fans. Ipswich are 10th in the table, five points behind Doncaster Rovers in the final play-off spot.
Cook resigned as Wigan boss in July shortly after their relegation from the Championship.