New York CITY! Sheik Mansour close to $100m deal to start new MLS side… with link to Premier League giants
By IAN LADYMAN
PUBLISHED: 22:59, 29 April 2013 | UPDATED: 12:38, 30 April 2013
Manchester City owner Sheik Mansour of Abu Dhabi is close to sealing an astonishing $100million deal to establish a new Major League Soccer team in New York.
The billionaire owner of the deposed Barclays Premier League champions has been in top-secret discussions with MLS for months about establishing a lucrative franchise in the USA.
Sportsmail understands that a deal is close and the Sheik is hopeful he, and MLS officials, will be in a position to announce its completion when Roberto Mancini’s side play an exhibition game against Chelsea in New York at the end of next month.
Nobody at City will comment and it is understood that there are some crucial details to be ironed out before the deal can go through.
Sources close to the situation suggested last night there is still an outside chance the move may fall at the final hurdle.
However, staff at all levels at City are now working towards an announcement being made in New York next month. If and when it is established, the new club would be tied intrinsically to City and would probably be based in the New York borough of Queens, near to the home of the New York Mets baseball team and Flushing Meadows, venue for the US Open tennis tournament.
The team would be ready to play in the 2016 season and although the name of the franchise is a closely guarded secret, sources in America have suggested that ‘New York City FC’ is a possibility.
The Sheik’s move would be enormous for the development and profile of the MLS. To have a team playing in the league owned and run by one of the biggest names in European football would have an immediate impact on its credibility and commercial value.
For City and the Sheik, the move is seen as a way of planting their flag firmly in the one corner of the globe not conquered commercially by European clubs. They would also use the MLS to blood young players.
Given that City are relative newcomers to the top table — the Sheik only bought the club in 2008 — they have found lucrative foreign markets in Asia and South Africa have been sewn up by traditional powerhouses such as Manchester United, Liverpool and, to a lesser extent, Chelsea and Arsenal.
However, previous attempts by the big clubs to do likewise in America have failed. United, for example, established a tie-up with the New York Yankees baseball club in 2001 but the venture proved fruitless.
But with City acutely aware of UEFA’s new Financial Fair Play rules, they need to explore every revenue stream.
The club are investigating ways of partnering with clubs in Mexico, China and elsewhere in Asia, as a way of developing the City brand.
The American league has been looking to expand for some time. And there is no team based in the city of New York, with the New York Red Bulls playing in nearby New Jersey.
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/football/article-2316808/Sheik-Mansour-close-establishing-new-MLS-franchise-100m.html#ixzz2RxjfHo00
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