American billionaire John J. Fisher is being linked with a takeover of Italian club AS Roma. Fisher is part-owner of the San Jose Earthquakes of Major League Soccer and is the son of the founder of the Gap clothing chain.

Last month there were strong reports in the Italian media that Roma would have to be sold due to the fact that the club's parent company, Italpetroli, had accumulated debts in the region of $580 million.

Giallorossi administrative delegate Rosella Sensi has since made numerous declarations that her father, President Franco Sensi, would not be selling the club. The latest of these denials came at the weekend.

"I'm very sorry that this sort of news come out always before important games. These are news items which disturb the team," she said. "Roma is an important club. Last time I denied that this was happening, but it wasn't enough as no one believed me. We have the right to take legal action in order to protect the interests of both the club and its shareholders."

However these statements have not prevented new reports emerging that Fisher is ready to buy Roma and write off the debts owed by Italpetroli.

Fisher is 46 years old and has a personal wealth estimated at $2.4 billion. He is said to have informally met Sensi last July, and is interested in buying Roma as he feels there are real global and merchandise possibilities.

Fisher also feels he can help Roma become an even more powerful force on the soccer side of things, and to appease fans concerned of a foreign invasion similar to that in the English Premiership, he will make Franco Sensi as the club's honorary President.

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