FORMER Wanderers captain Dean Holdsworth is fronting a consortium seeking to buy the club, The Bolton News understands.

The one-time record signing is acting as a business consultant for Sport Shield Consultancy – a company specialising in football investment – which has held high-level meetings at the Macron Stadium in recent weeks.

Wanderers have declined to comment officially on the nature of the talks, or the timeframe involved, but sources have confirmed that former striker Holdsworth has met with officials to discuss potential funding options.

Some reports have suggested Eddie Davies wants £20million for his majority shareholding but the deal currently proposed is significantly lower and could see the Isle of Man resident retain some smaller stake in the club, or its future earnings.

Phil Gartside is expected to leave the Macron as Holdsworth plans to come in as chairman and there is a strong possibility that Phil Brown could also be appointed as new manager should a compensation fee be agreed with Southend United.

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It is worth noting that Wanderers have found themselves at this stage of negotiations before. Interested parties at home and abroad have discussed investment and future plans but failed to make the all-important final offer.

Little is known of Sport Shield’s make up aside for that fact several other former footballers including Nigel Spackman, John Scales and Tony Dorigo all list the company among their current employers.

Sport Shield is known to provide financial and insurance advice to individuals and clubs in the game, including agents.

Former England B international Holdsworth signed for the Whites from Wimbledon in October 1997 for a club record £3.5million fee.

The 47-year-old is currently managing Isthmian Premier League side Burtonwood Town after spells at Chelmsford, Newport and Aldershot.