A prestige trip to Wirral by a special Viking longship this summer could be sunk by the power of the mighty dollar.

Wirral Viking expert Professor Stephen Harding said today: “We understand the Norwegian team in charge of the longship have received a lucrative deal with American TV, which we can’t compete with.”

It had been hoped originally that the Viking vessel Drakon Harald Fairhair would visit Wirral as part of a sea voyage retracing the route taken by the Viking from Scandinavia to Istanbul.

Stephen has been in contact with Norwegian court officials in a bid to persuade King Harald to unveil an 8ft high statue of Viking Warrior Ingimund in Meols Park.

Now the royal visit and the statue venture are both clouded in uncertainty – the latter because of difficulties in securing National Lottery funding.

Stephen said: “The Norwegians have decided this year to head directly to the USA. But we are still hopeful they will visit Wirral on the way. I will find out from project director Sigurd Aase in the next two weeks.

“Realistically it looks like 2015 for the coming to Wirral. This is good news in a way because it gives us more time to get the statue of Ingimund up in time.

“This means of course the invitation to King Harald would now be for 2015.”

Sculptor Stephen Hitchin has been commissioned to create the statue for Meols Park which will stand on a plinth designed like a rock or a longship.