Granada CF in Chinese takeover

Granada CF in Chinese takeover
Desports, a Chinese-based sports marketing agency, has reportedly acquired Spanish soccer side Granada CF, continuing a trend of Chinese ownership in European soccer.

According to Spanish newspaper Marca, Desports will pay €37 million (US$41.34 million) for a 100 per cent stake in the club. The deal has been brokered by Spanish firm MBS, led by Pere Guardiola, agent of Barcelona star Luis Suarez and brother of incoming Manchester City manager Pep. Pere Guardiola will be named as president of Granada when the deal is officially finalised.

The club are currently owned by the Pozzo family, who also own Premier League side Watford and Serie A club Udinese, and the three clubs have revelled in player, coach, and knowledge sharing over recent years thanks to the linked ownership.

The news comes in the same week as relegated Premier League team Aston Villa were acquired by Chinese businessman Dr Tony Xia, while Granada will become the second team in La Liga to have majority Chinese ownership after Hong Kong-based Rastar Group purchased a 56 per cent stake in Espanyol in November 2015. Last year, Wang Jianlin’s Wanda group also bought a 20 per cent stake in Uefa Champions League finalists Atlético Madrid.

Granada lost 3-0 to eventual champions FC Barcelona on the final day of the 2015/16 La Liga season, and narrowly avoided relegation by just a single point. The 2016/17 campaign will see the club enter their sixth year in the Spanish top tier, and they will be hoping to build on their new investment.

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