A FOOTBALL finance expert says Abdallah Lemsagam must have a realistic valuation of Oldham Athletic if there is to be a successful takeover.

Latics' unpopular owner last week said that he was open to offers and was in talks with "certain credible bidders" after four years at the helm.

But Kieran Maguire, author and podcaster of The Price of Football, says it is highly unlikely that Lemsagam will get the £6million he is understood to want for the club, and should set the bar lower if he is serious about a sale.

Maguire also warned that while Lemsagam's announcement was welcomed by Oldham fans who are keen to see a change of ownership, it will not happen overnight.

"It can be done, like Hull's has just been, but that one took three years," he said.

"The question is, is the owner going to demand a fair price? If you look at what's happened with Sunderland and Hull they were both looking for far too much initially. Eventually they start to see sense.

"If the club is losing money every month sometimes it's in your best interests to sell at a lower price then you are not on the drip every month with wages and general running costs.

"Also you have to make sure you are selling what people want to buy.

"In Oldham's case a buyer would have to negotiate with more than one party, with the stadium situation, and that slows things down."

Maguire says the complex situation of Lemsagam not owning Boundary Park, allied to the involvement of Brass Bank and new Oldham Event Centre (OEC) owners the Fan Led Group (FLG), is not the only hurdle.

"While the relationship between the fanbase and owner is broken down it makes sense for him to sell the club," he continued.

"He wants to recover some of his money, but he has to be realistic. We are still in a pandemic and in an economic environment which means the opportunity to grow revenue quickly is limited.

"People are suffering from inflation and fewer people can afford to buy a ticket for a football match. That will be factored in by a prospective owner. Also interest rates are starting to rise so that's another factor if they are borrowing money.

"And then once a price is agreed they have to go through the EFL's owners' and directors' test.

"That consists of two elements - does the prospective owner have any unspent convictions?; can they provide proof of funds? As well as providing Lemsagam with his money for buying the club, you have got to evidence that you can pay the bills and put together a budget for the next 18 months to two years.

"If the club is running at a loss, where is that money going to come from? And that is where a lot of deals have fallen down."

Maguire feels that £2million would be a more reasonable price point, taking into account the club's finances. But he said the prospect of relegation from the Football League and financial consequences would be a bartering tool for any interested party.

"Oldham isn't incurring huge losses, but isn't making money either, so why would you buy a loss-making business and pay £6m for it, unless there's a guaranteed way of changing the finances, and there isn't," he said.

"I think the club, financially, is being run okay.

"They have invested nothing in terms of players. There are about half a dozen clubs in League Two who have squads with a total cost of zero, of which Oldham is one.

"But with the chance of dropping into the National League, would you pay £6m for that when you lose Premier League money?

"You get two years' of parachute payments from the EFL but that is £750,000 a year in lost income from television.

"You'd be struggling to get sponsors with not even being seen on highlights channels each week.

"And if you talk to people at Stockport of Notts County, getting out isn't easy.

"Only one club is part-time, so you've got the challenges of full-time costs, so National League clubs lose money as well."