Dave Whelan, founder of troubled sportswear retailer JJB Sports, could step in to save jobs by acquiring several stores, according to reports.

Whelan has expressed interest in buying a number of stores for his DW Sports Fitness chain, according to The Guardian.

"We've asked for the [sale] information. It's amazing, utterly amazing, what has happened. It would appear to me the next step is administration," he told the newspaper.

However, Whelan does not appear to be interested in acquiring the whole company because it "has had such a bad going-over," adding that it's "impossible to revive a brand after it goes into administration".

The speculation comes after the sportswear retailer put itself up for sale yesterday (30 August) when its directors did not believe the chain, which has around 4,000 staff, could raise the funds to turn the company around.

Earlier this month, the retailer remained quiet on reports that Jon Moulton, chairman of private equity firm Better Capital, may be looking to take over control of the sportswear business.

This followed reports that shareholder Invesco was considering buying JJB's outstanding debt to help turn around the retailer's poor financial performance, just four months after the chain received a GBP30m (US$47m) cash injection.

In July, JJB Sports admitted trading fell below expectations because of poor weather and weak demand for replica football kits during the European Championships.