Liverpool co-owner Tom Hicks may block George Gillett Jr. if he tries to sell his 50 percent stake in the Premier League club.
Hicks, who has said he is not interested in selling his portion of the team, and Gillett cannot sell their stakes without the other's consent.
"Not only am I not going to sell, my partner cannot sell without my approval," Hicks said in Thursday's edition of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. "So, I kind of have the ability to determine the outcome of what is going to happen, and I am right in the middle of that."
The comments are the first public indication of a possible breakdown in the relationship between the two American businessmen since they bought Liverpool last March.
Meanwhile, Dubai International Capital is stepping up its pursuit of the five-time European champions and is in regular contact with Gillett, a person familiar with the negotiations told The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the deal.
DIC, the private-equity investment arm of the Dubai government, is only interested in buying Gillett's shares if it can gain control of Liverpool. That would involve Hicks selling at least part of his stake.
"For a lot of reasons I can't discuss, I haven't been able to fix it yet," Hicks, who also owns baseball's Texas Rangers and the NHL's Dallas Stars, told the Star-Telegram of the club's ownership. "But I am preparing to be in a position to fix it."
On Tuesday, Hicks told the AP in an e-mail that he is committed to Liverpool "regardless" of the actions of Gillett, who also owns the Montreal Canadiens.
Gillett and Hicks bought Liverpool for 218.9 million pounds (then US$431 million; euro333 million) in March 2007, which included an agreement to pay off about 45 million pounds (then US$89 million; euro68 million) of debt and a pledge to build and finance a 60,000-seat stadium.
Gillett has taken a back seat in recent months, along with his son Foster Gillett, who is a director. Instead, Hicks has been the main spokesman for the co-owners in public statements.
Fans have been turning against the American owners, who have been in a power struggle with popular manager Rafa Benitez over player transfers. Hicks has acknowledged he sought out former Germany coach Juergen Klinsmann as a possible replacement for Benitez in November.
A group of Liverpool fans is also hoping to buy the club from the Americans. Share Liverpool FC is trying to raise 500 million pounds (US$990 million; euro650 million) by asking fans to pledge 5,000 pounds (US$9,900; euro6,500) each.
Former Liverpool players Phil Thompson and John Aldridge are among 9,500 people who have pledged to donate money to the member-share scheme.