Manchester City’s parent company, the City Football Group, is set to make Girona the sixth side of its growing portfolio, with a deal all but sealed for the purchase of a major stake in the Spanish club.
The proposed terms are understood to give CFG a near-50% share along with Media Base, the agency owned by Pere Guardiola, the brother of Pep, the City manager. The remainder will continue to be owned by a Girona fans association. The club were promoted to La Liga for the first time this summer and started their season with a 2-2 home draw against Atlético Madrid.
City already have close links with the Catalan team, having loaned them five players this summer – Pablo Maffeo, Aleix García, Douglas Luiz, Marlos Moreno and Larry Kayode.
The acquisition of Girona, who beat City 1-0 a friendly in Catalonia on Tuesday of last week, would be the latest move in CFG’s strategy of global expansion. Since Sheikh Mansour bought City in September 2008 his Abu Dhabi-based CFG has acquired the start-up MLS franchise New York City FC, the Australian A-League side Melbourne City FC, Japan’s Yokohama F. Marinos and Club Atlético Torque in Uruguay. City are also two years into a five-year agreement with NAC Breda that also involves their players being loaned to the Dutch club.
CFG is also considering buying a team in China. Two years ago a $400m (£256m) investment from the Chinese consortium CMC, which bought 13% and that valued CFG then at $3bn, was announced.
Speaking in December 2015 Mubarak said: “Football is the most loved, played and watched sport in the world and in China, the exponential growth pathway for the game is both unique and hugely exciting. We have therefore worked hard to find the right partners and to create the right deal structure to leverage the incredible potential that exists in China, both for CFG and for football at large.”
Meanwhile, City remain watchful of Alexis Sánchez’s situation at Arsenal. Arsène Wenger has repeatedly stated the Chile forward is not for sale yet Guardiola is continuing to monitor the player, as Thursday’s start of the final week of the summer transfer window approaches.
The head coach is also still targeting a centre-back. West Bromwich Albion’s Jonny Evans is an option though City may have to sell Eliaquim Mangala or Wilfried Bony before making a second bid for the Northern Irishman, after an £18m offer was rejected by the Midlands club.
Swansea City – who sold Bony to the Etihad Stadium club for £28m in 2015 – have offered £10m to buy back the 28-year-old and as the club’s valuation is around £13m an acceptable price for the striker may yet be agreed.
Celtic are favourites to take Patrick Roberts on loan, after the forward spent last season there on a temporary basis.
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