Liverpool have discussed the possibility of a partnership with La Liga side Elche, according to reports in Spain.
Reds owners Fenway Sports Group have been looking for ways to expand their net in football and have looked at potential acquisition of clubs in Europe and South America over the past year, looking for ways to grow their portfolio and influence.
Reports from Spanish sports daily Diario AS this week suggested FSG were exploring a La Liga collaboration with Elche, claiming club owner Christian Bragarnik visited Liverpool last week to discuss potential leads that could be explored in between following a visit by Red Chiefs to Spain earlier this year.
A deal to buy Elche is not believed to be on the cards at present, with Argentine Bragarnik only in charge since late 2019. It has been reported that the creation stronger partnerships with bigger clubs has been something he has been looking to establish for some time. Bragarnik, who owns Elche through his Score Club 2019 vehicle which is headquartered in Elche, bought the club in December 2019 for 20 million euros, a sum paid over eight years.
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AS report that the purpose of Bragarnik’s visit was to “negotiate different forms of collaboration between the two entities”, with the possibility of setting up loan agreements between the two clubs, with a foothold in La Liga football considered as beneficial to the development of some players looking to make the move to the Academy’s first team. AS claim that representatives of Liverpool traveled to Alicante a few weeks ago and visited the Martínez Valero stadium to find out more about the club, the facilities, the working method and the plans for the Bragarnik project, which could offer a path that has been described as a ‘projection channel for interesting players likely to gain market value’.
It is understood that the FSG continues to monitor the South American football market, particularly in Brazil where a change in league governance and the control clubs have provide opportunities for growth ahead of a new media deal. . It also offers Liverpool the possibility of having an “in” when it comes to transfer policy in South America and the search for new talent. Liverpool owners are said to have eyed Cruzeiro before a deal was struck by Brazilian legend Ronaldo to buy the club in December.
One of FSG’s main partners, RedBird Capital Partners, is the 85% majority owner of French second division side Toulouse, a club which was re-elected to the top flight of French football last week, two years after his relegation and the arrival of RedBird. The US private equity firm, which acquired 11% of FSG in March 2021 in a $750m deal, also has a small stake in Malaga with the potential for a full takeover at a some point in the future, although the Malaga deal remains mired. in court due to a complex legal dispute between the former owners, the Al Thani family, and the shareholders of the Blue Bay hotel group. Malaga have been under the control of an administrator for almost two years as the legal situation rumbles, with RedBird not expected to move until the legal situation is resolved, and even then there are no guarantees.
Toulouse ownership, which has former Liverpool sporting director Damien Comolli as chairman, is entirely separate from the Reds and there is currently no FSG involvement or partnership between the two. Toulouse is controlled by one of RedBird’s commercial vehicles, RedBird FC.
But FSG and RedBird share a common vision when it comes to adding more sports teams to their portfolios, with RedBird themselves envisioning more teams they could add to their growing empire. RedBird looked at over 80 clubs across Europe after two years of investigation before landing in Toulouse.
FSG are expected to spend 2022 and 2023 scouting and acquiring new sports properties, potentially in football and almost certainly in basketball and are in the mix, according to ECHO, to be the ownership group to take over any NBA expansion franchise that could get the green light in Las Vegas within the next two years.