Napoli President Aurelio De Laurentiis is reportedly the front-runner to complete an audacious takeover of bankrupt club Bari.

The Puglia club reached the Serie B play-offs at the end of last season but folded shortly after their failure to secure promotion to Italian football’s top-flight.

They have since been invited to re-launch in Serie D, provided they can find the necessary funding to register in time.

And Gazzetta dello Sport reports that competition to assume control of the Biancorossi is red-hot, with De Laurentiis rivalled by Lazio President Claudio Lotito.

The Italian daily claims that De Laurentiis wants to lauch an ambitious project on the Adriatic coast, in a bid to return Bari to Serie A within three seasons.

Italian football regulations forbid two clubs from the same League from being under the same ownership, so in the event that Bari did reach the top-flight, the film producer would have to make a decision to sell one of the clubs.

However, Gazzetta claims that De Laurentiis has told his collaborators that he intends to have the rules overturned – and that he wants Napoli and Bari together to provide a challenge to Italian football’s historic northern superpowers.

“We’ll convince the Italian sporting authorities to change the rules on multi-ownership,” he is quoted to have said. “It will be a revolution.”

Lotito is also said to be interested in presenting a bid for Bari, along with several other parties.

However, it appears De Laurentiis is the clear favourite at this stage.

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Football Italia staff