Why Liverpool owners FSG pulled out of deal to buy Bordeaux

Liverpool owners Fenway Sports Group (FSG) pulled out of talks to buy Bordeaux because of concerns over the financial situation at the club and in French football more generally, 90min understands.

Bordeaux, who have been provisionally relegated to the third tier of French football because of their financial situation, confirmed earlier this month that talks with FSG had begun as they sought the investment needed to retain their status in Ligue 2.

However, the French side later confirmed that FSG had decided not to advance their interest, leaving them facing a race against time to raise the required funds.

FSG conducted a thorough review of the investment needed at Bordeaux and identified concerns with the cost of maintaining the team’s stadium which, alongside the major financial issues facing all French teams this season, led them to pull out of what was initially discussed as a “majority stake” takeover.

TV rights have been a serious concern in French football in recent years. Mediapro pulled out of a €780m-a-year deal in 2021 just four months into their four-year contract, leaving many clubs on the cusp of bankruptcy before Amazon swooped in with a three-year agreement worth just €250m per season.

Amazon declined to renew their contract and a new broadcaster was only found on July 14, one month before the start of the new season.

John Henry

FSG founder John W Henry / James Baylis – AMA/GettyImages

Key to FSG’s plans with Bordeaux was a desire to run the club as an individual entity, rather than immediately form a feeder club for Liverpool, although the link between the two clubs would have been built eventually.

Instead, FSG saw buying Bordeaux as the opportunity to restore one of France’s most famous clubs and compete for major silverware in France while they sought to satisfy UEFA’s requirements for multi-club ownership.

Because of this, FSG were particularly strict with their research into a potential takeover. They did not rush early talks with Bordeaux and ultimately could not find the confidence needed that buying the club would be the right fit despite having huge respect for Bordeaux and its history.

In addition, it’s believed Bordeaux president Gerard Lopez wanted to stay on, much like Marc Keller did at Strasbourg when Chelsea’s parent company, BlueCo 22, took over there. FSG had other ideas wanting to put their own personnel in place.

FSG do still have plans to explore another club, most likely in Europe. Former sporting director Michael Edwards was hired by FSG as chief executive of football to help lead the multi-club project, while directors Pedro Marques and Julian Ward are also involved.

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Leny Yoro agrees Man Utd personal terms ahead of £53m move

Leny Yoro will soon become a Manchester United player and pen a five-year contract with the Premier League side, according to reports.

Yoro was formerly believed to be holding out for a move to La Liga and Champions League winners Real Madrid but news broke earlier on Wednesday revealing that he had agreed to travel to Manchester for a medical. United’s offer was accepted by Lille last week.

The 18-year-old is now said to have agreed personal terms after completing the first part of his medical, according to Fabrizio Romano, with a long-term contract in the pipeline.

It’s a major coup for United with seemingly only a few more tests standing between now and official confirmation. The news comes only a few days after the club announced the arrival of Bologna and Netherlands striker Joshua Zirkzee to add competition up front for Rasmus Hojlund.

Yoro may not be the only centre-back arrival at Old Trafford this summer, either. While they may need to sell other squad members to fund another move, Jarrad Branthwaite is a known target for United, who have had two bids rejected for the England international. Bayern Munich star Matthijs de Ligt is also liked.

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Man Utd are set to sign Yoro / ANP/GettyImages

Los Blancos had been keen on signing Yoro earlier in the window but could now reassess their movements in the transfer market. Relevo claim the Spanish and European champions have no alternative option to the France Under-21 international and have no further plans to pursue another centre-back.

It’s a position in which Madrid were hit hard last season. David Alaba and Eder Militao both suffered anterior cruciate ligament injuries and were absent for large periods, while veteran club captain Nacho Fernandez has since departed to complete a move to the Saudi Pro League.

Antonio Rudiger was one of their star performers in 2023/24, while Aurelien Tchouameni proved he can drop back into defence if needed.

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Lamine Yamal takes new Barcelona shirt number

Barcelona have confirmed the new shirt number that Lamine Yamal will wear for the club after promoting the 17-year-old prodigy to official first-team status ahead of the new season.

Yamal played virtually every game for Barcelona across 2023/24 but wasn’t officially registered as a first-team player, which is a more important distinction in Spanish football than elsewhere.

Now, having shone at Euro 2024 and further underlined his status as one of the best players in the world already, it an obvious step to make at club level. But with first-team status at Barcelona also comes a new shirt number.

Team numbers in Spain are 1-25 and Yamal has so far worn 27. However, going forward the Spanish star will sport the number 19 – the same he wore for his nation at Euro 2024.

Lamine Yamal

Lamine Yamal wore 19 for Spain at Euro 2024 / Kevin Voigt/GettyImages

Club legend Lionel Messi initially broke through from La Masia with number 30 on his back and then traded down to 19 once he had become an official member of the first-team squad in 2005. He continued to use 19 until Ronaldinho left Camp Nou in 2008, at which point the burgeoning superstar moved to 10.

Other Barca players to have worn 19 over the years – with varying success – include Patrick Kluivert when he first moved from AC Milan, Maxwell, Ibrahim Afellay, Kevin-Prince Boateng, Martin Braithwaite, Sergio Aguero and Franck Kessie, to name just a few.

Yamal taking over the shirt also has implications for Vitor Roque, who wore it during the first half of 2024 following his January arrival from Athletico Paranaense. The Brazilian forward has struggled to justify the transfer fee paid for him and has been linked with a move to Saudi Arabia this month.

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When does Leagues Cup 2024 start?

Fans excited for the start of Leagues Cup 2024 do not have to wait much longer.

Although Copa America 2024 and Euro 2024 might be coming to an end, there is still plenty of soccer to enjoy this summer. Not only are the Paris Olympics 2024 kicking off in just a couple weeks, but Leagues Cup 2024 is also back to give fans a month-long tournament featuring all 47 clubs from the MLS and Liga MX.

Less than one year ago, Lionel Messi and Inter Miami won the inaugural Leagues Cup, and now, the reigning champions will get a chance to defend their title against the best talent in North America. Both Major League Soccer and Liga MX’s seasons will be put on pause for the competition to unfold well into August.

So, when exactly does the first match of Leagues Cup 2024 kick off?

Leagues Cup 2024 starts on July 26 as Atlanta United take on D.C. United at 8 p.m. ET. The first group stage matches of the tournament kick off on the Friday and will continue throughout the weekend.

Since there are only three teams per group, some sides will have to wait until July 30 to play their first game of the tournament.

In just under a week and a half, though, fans will get to watch 45 group stage matches between the participating sides from both the MLS and Liga MX to determine the 30 teams that advance to the knockout rounds.

The Leagues Cup 2024 group stage ends on Aug. 6, 2024. After New England Revolution take on Nashville SC at Gillette Stadium in the last match of Group I, the official bracket for the competition will reveal the first matchups of the Round of 32.

All Leagues Cup 2024 matches, from the group stage to the final, will be broadcasted on MLS Season Pass on Apple TV. The exclusive membership costs $14.99 per month or $99 for the entire season.

Those who are already Apple TV+ subscribers get a discounted rate of $12.99 per month or $79 per season.

Atlanta United step up pursuit of Atalanta midfielder – report

Atlanta United have reportedly made another bid in an attempt to sign Atalanta midfielder Aleksei Miranchuk, according to reports.

The Five Stripes appeared to have stepped up their pursuit of the 28-year-old attacking midfielder who would immediately slot right into the team’s starting lineup as one of the Designated Players (DP). Atlanta currently has two DP slots open after the outbound transfers of Giorgos Giakoumakis to Cruz Azul and Thiago Almada to Botafogo.

Reports came out early last week from GiveMeSport‘s Tom Bogert revealing that the 2018 MLS Cup champions lodged a bid worth roughly $10. Now, world-renowned transfer expert Fabrizio Romano is reporting that Atlanta has sent in another bid for the Russia international but the exact amount is unknown.

As Almada has left the club for Brazil, Miranchuk would fill an obvious need for the team that is led by interim head coach Rob Valentino. Atlanta doesn’t really have a natural creator on the roster that can step up right now but Miranchuk seems to be the player that Atlanta is targeting to be their next creative force in the final third.

Romano also reported last week that Atalanta are holding out for €15m ($16.3m), which would be a hefty fee for an MLS side to pay for a player who’s contract is set to expire next summer. The fee that Atalanta is asking for would also break Atlanta’s incoming record of $16m when they splashed the cash to sign Thiago Almada back early 2022.

However, these reports from Romano conflicted reports from fellow Italian transfer expert Gianluca Di Marzio, who claimed that the Five Stripes had come to an agreement with the Serie A club — back on July 11 — and that Miranchuk has yet to make a decision.

It remains to be seen whether the former Lokomotiv Moscow player will make the switch to Major League Soccer, but it appears that Atlanta won’t be slowing down their pursuit of the attacking midfielder anytime soon.

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