Manchester City (the City Football Group) are in talks to acquire 50 per cent of Belgian top flight side KV Oostende, according to Het Nieuwsblad and other local sources.
Following his departure for Anderlecht, club president Marc Coucke promised to leave Oostende in good hands, and those hands may be the CFG’s. The idea is for 50 per cent to be sold to City, with local Flemish investors sought to share the other 50 per cent.
Many have feared the Jupiler League side, who sit third from bottom in the league, would implode when billionaire Coucke decided to move on, but he has a strategy. Coucke stayed in London to talk to an ‘English investor’ this week, and it is now emerging that the investor is Manchester City.
Should a deal be concluded, Oostende would join the likes of New York City, Melbourne City, Yokohama F Marinos, Girona FC and Club Atlético Torque in the expanding, unprecedented network of clubs.
City see a partner in Ostend where they can send (mainly) foreign talents in bulk, particularly ones who are ineligible for work permits in the UK. Cercle Brugge struck a similar partnership with Ligue 1 side AS Monaco earlier this year.
Players who have not yet reached the top would be given a competitive environment of a slightly lower level than some leagues to develop in, facing the likes of Anderlecht and Club Brugge.
Should they complete their investment, City would want sporting director Luc Devroe to remain on board, but Anderlecht are showing interest in recruiting him.
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