Who is Sarbjot Johal - the man who wants to buy Wigan Athletic?

This time last week, it's fair to say not many Wigan Athletic fans would have heard of Sarbjot Johal.
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But the 21-year-old soft drinks entrepreneur believes he's the man to take on the baton from ownership group Phoenix 2021 Limited.

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EFL need more information from Wigan Athletic owners after takeover summit

So what do we know about someone who could potentially become the next Latics boss?

Wigan Athletic fans are waiting to hear who the club's new owner will beWigan Athletic fans are waiting to hear who the club's new owner will be
Wigan Athletic fans are waiting to hear who the club's new owner will be
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Well, for starters, he was born in Gravesend, Kent in 2002, to a family of British Indians.

Described as being an 'entrepreneur', a 'businessman', and an 'investor', Johal is now based in Solihull, West Midlands - the birthplace of Will Grigg.

Interestingly, the chairman of local club Solihull Moors is Darryl Eales, who is also a shareholder in Lenagan Investments, the company which controls ownership of Wigan Warriors.

But there is not thought to be any link between Johal and rugby league in terms of his interest in Latics.

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Johal oversees the Vitanic, Lovely Drinks and Sarb Capital brands, although documents on Companies House show no obvious signs of significant wealth.

He does appear to have a taste for the high life, with publicly available information showing that he splashed out more than £60,000 on a personalised number plate, which would go nicely on his vehicle of choice - a Rolls Royce.

However, Martin Calladine, author of ‘The Ugly Game’ and ‘Fit and Proper People’, has been particularly scathing on social media of Johal’s claims of wealth.

"The situation is simple: despite claiming to have lots of money, none of Johal's UK businesses show any significant profits,” he tweeted.

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"The main ones are a drinks ‘empire’ which sells a drink you can't buy and where two companies are late with their accounts.

"The other main area of operations is a supposed ‘private equity’ firm.

"It's not a private equity business, it's a year-old off-the-shelf limited company, which doesn't even have a website.

“Finally, there is sarblimited.com, a crypto ponzi scheme, which uses the PE company's branding.

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"Johal has made no public comment on why an active fraud is using his company's identity. This whole episode is absurd.”

All that financial talk, of course, will have formed part of the discussions the EFL have been holding with Phoenix 2021 Limited to ascertain how credible the buyer they have found is.

And it's not the first time Johal has come on to the radar of the governing body.

He had an offer accepted to buy Morecambe at the beginning of the year - reportedly twice as much as the next best offer on the table.

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However, despite having no disqualifying conditions, he is still waiting for EFL approval via the Owners and Directors Test - the so-called 'fit and proper person test'.

The burden is on the buyer to prove they are worthy rather than the EFL to prove they're not, and the delay of several months will have alarm bells ringing.

In the meantime, the effect on Morecambe has been massively negative.

With the board seemingly unwilling to move on to other options - including local boxing champion Tyson Fury - the club was relegated back to League Two, and are in limbo while the situation continues.

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"If Johal were in a position to provide the EFL with evidence of the source and sufficiency of his funds, he could have done it *months* ago,” tweeted Calladine.

"The only conclusion is he can't pass the ODT. That being so, clubs should not depend on him rescuing them.

"He does not strike me as a person upon whom anyone should rest their hopes for their club's future.”

Johal, who was reportedly seen at the DW Stadium on Monday by an eagle-eyed fan, has another bizarre Latics link.

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According to the internet, his favourite footballer is Reece James, who spent a season on loan from Chelsea in 2018-19.

Whether he'll be afforded the opportunity to make a similar impression on the club very much remains to be seen.

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