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FSG vision for future becomes clear as Liverpool owners 'launch bid' for new club

-Credit: (Image: Anthony Dibon/Icon Sport via Getty Images)
-Credit: (Image: Anthony Dibon/Icon Sport via Getty Images)


Liverpool owners Fenway Sports Group are in talks to purchase a controlling stake in French second-tier side Bordeaux, according to reports.

Having brought former Liverpool sporting director Michael Edwards back into the fold earlier this year as head of football for FSG, one of the main carrots that was dangled to secure his return was the addition of another team to the portfolio as the Reds owners pursued a multi-club structure to aid recruitment and player trading.

Erroneous links had been made with a potential purchase of Toulouse back in March, a club owned by FSG partners RedBird Capital, something that sources familiar with the matter stressed had ‘no truth’ to it. But the French market has been seen as fertile ground for the acquisition of a second club, with Bordeaux one of French football’s biggest clubs but having fallen on hard times in recent years.

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The six-time French champions were relegated to Ligue 2 at the end of the 2021/22 season and have been struggling financially, with the club’s officials set to meet with French football’s financial watchdog, the DNCG, on Tuesday in order to satisfy them that they can provide a workable budget to enable them to compete for a full Ligue 2 season.

According to reports in both France Bleu and The Times, FSG representatives have flown to France for talks around a potential purchase, although no deal has been agreed and the talks are believed to be at an exploratory stage given the considerable financial challenges that Bordeaux currently faces.

Sources have previously told the ECHO that there was likely little desire for FSG to purchase a club that required a significant amount of work and capital to turn around, although there is likely to be a cheap purchase price for what has long been one of French football’s big clubs.

Speaking to the ECHO in April, Jordan Gardner, an American investment strategy consultant for Twenty First Group, a former owner of Danish side Helsingor, and investor in clubs including Dundalk and Swansea City, explained the potential pros of acquiring a club in the French market.

“Different markets have different benefits,” he said.

“France is a is a hotbed of football talent and the reason why is that obviously the thread of African players that come through France, and they really kind of develop in that kind of French system.

“There's also a really strong French youth football system as well, which kind of hones that and grows that talent which is already there.

“Sophisticated football folks like Michael Edwards, they're presumably saying to themselves, ‘We want to be able to control the development of this player’. If they send them to a club in League One or the Championship they can kind of control what club they go to, but can't control how much they're going to play the style, the player performance aspect of that environment, the level of play.

“But if they send them to a club they own in an umbrella system, presumably they're playing a Liverpool style of football, they can control them. They hire the coach, they hire the physio.

“I think having more of that control over the development of the player ultimately will lead to better outcomes for these players. I think that's what makes them so particularly attractive.”

Should it be Bordeaux, coached by former Liverpool player Albert Riera, who FSG choose to acquire then Edwards, Julian Ward and Pedro Marques, all part of the new FSG football arm, would have significant roles to play in the running of the club, with a direct thread to the Reds, much in the same way that Chelsea have sought to operate with their acquisition of another French side, Ligue 1 outfit Strasbourg.