JUAN Sartori believed he could take Oxford United to the Premier League.

The Uruguayan businessman yesterday saw his dream of owning the U’s thwarted when chairman Darryl Eales rejected his takeover bid.

The 36-year-old had made a formal offer to seize control of the club, but has been forced to accept defeat.

Mr Sartori, the son-in-law of Russian billionaire Dmitry Rybolovlev, admitted he was extremely disappointed with the outcome, but respected the decision of Mr Eales.

“I am sad about it, but what can you do?” he said.

“We worked a lot over the last three months and did due diligence, but it was Darryl’s decision to carry on at the club. We put forward a very strong project, a very credible project.”

Mr Sartori revealed to the Oxford Mail he had big plans for the club, and was confident he would be able to lead them to at least one promotion.

“It was a very ambitious project but we needed to buy the club to put it into action,” he said.

“It involved real estate and the stadium.

“We had a project on the football side that involved strengthening the academy and having a higher playing budget.

“Then we would see a value on the brand that could be developed commercially.

“It would have involved the whole football club.”

He added: “Of course you need the results for anything to happen, but if all of that was aligned I believe it would have happened.

“We wanted to go as high as possible – the Championship and Premier League.

“Could we have made it? Of course. I have no doubt about it. I really think it is a great club with a great platform.”

Mr Sartori had held talks with stadium owner Firoz Kassam and believes he could have negotiated a deal to reunite the club and ground.

It is something he feels can be achieved in the future to benefit all parties.

“I think it would be an important thing for everybody and in practice it is not something impossible,” he said.

“I have had a good dialogue with Firoz and I think it is something that should be resolved.

“I do not see anything that would prevent it from a business point of view and it is something that would benefit the football club.”

Mr Sartori, however, says he believes Mr Eales can continue to achieve more success with United, having already taken them from the lower reaches of League Two to a top-eight finish in League One in the last three years.

“I wish a lot of good luck to Darryl and I am sure he can take the club forward,” he said.

“He has been doing a great job so far and I hope he continues doing so.

“Oxford was a special project because it had been brought to me by a group of local people that I wanted to involve.

“I thought we could do a good job with those people.

“I am disappointed, but this is business.”