Manchester City are close to confirming a deal with a team in Uruguay as the next stage in City Football Group’s global expansion.
City have identified South America as their next target and believe that a partner club there would help them with their commercial growth, as they promote the City brand in target markets across the world. CFG already includes New York City, Melbourne City and Yokohama Marinos in Japan.
Expanding into Uruguay would also help City to ease their acquisition of South American players. When Manchester City signed Brazilian international Gabriel Jesus from Palmeiras for £27million in January, the transfer was delayed by weeks due to the resolution of a third-party claim from a former agent of Gabriel’s against Palmeiras.
City are determined that this type of delay should not happen again, and believe that South American partner club would help to resolve these concerns.
Many top Premier League teams see South American expansion as their next step, and have sent research missions to Brazil and Colombia to find similar arrangements. But City believe they have beaten their rivals and will announce their Uruguayan partnership soon.
Ferran Soriano, the man overseeing CFG’s global growth, has always wanted one club on every continent for the group. The next stage of CFG’s expansion after South America will be into China. City, like many Premier League clubs, are keen to become involved with the Chinese Super League (CSL). CFG sold a 13 per cent stake to Chinese investors in 2015 for £265million, valuing the whole enterprise at £2billion. Now they are exploring the possibility of finding a current CSL team as a partner or even setting up a new franchise in the CSL in their own branding.