The City Football Group and its South American power base

6/27/2022 12:31:00 PM

With multiple affiliated clubs and a booming scouting network, Manchester City's ownership group is making waves in South America

'It's like there's no distance between Manchester and Montevideo' With multiple affiliated clubs and an expansive scouting department, the City Football Group - who own MCFC - have cultivated 'an advantage' in South America. 📝 SamLee

With multiple affiliated clubs and a booming scouting network, Manchester City's ownership group is making waves in South America

in-depth look at the group’s global model, it is explained in detail since its inception and the web of players exchanged between clubs is almost impossible to keep track of..Image caption, Ukrainian troops (pictured) resisted a massive Russian offensive for weeks in Severodonetsk Russian forces are now in control of the battered city of Severodonetsk in eastern Ukraine, its mayor says.With news of more student accommodation being developed across Leeds city centre, people have questioned “how many students have we got?” In the past few weeks we have reported news of the new developments which will be taking place across the city.

At one stage this year, for example, New York City won with goals from Taty Castellanos, Santiago Rodriguez and Maxi Moralez, the first two of which had passed through Montevideo City Torque, the CFG’s club in Uruguay.All of them, though, had been recommended to the group by German Brunati, their former scout who is now Torque’s sporting director.Tripe is a local delicacy but if you don’t fancy that, give the meaty madness that is the Francesinha a go.“Uruguay is an incredible source of talent,” Brunati told the Big Data Sports podcast.Many civilians have been sheltering at the vast Azot chemical plant, but Mr Stryuk said the only way out now was via Russian-held territory.City did not sanction any interviews for this article.The 2,000-calorie monster is usually downed with beer and chips.“Our idea is not to compete with other teams when it comes to player signings.And most recently, Leeds City Council has supported plans to demolish the city's' House of Fraser department store and replace it with student flats.

Montevideo City Torque (in sky blue) were acquired by the City Football Group in 2017 (Photo: Rodrigo Buendia/AFP via Getty Images) “There is no order that we have to play in a certain way but I was formed by the CFG, so I have the same ideas that they have.But anyone up for a really wild night should head to the Pink Palace in the World of Wine (WOW) building, with themed rooms dedicated to the joys of rosé wine.The city, once home some 100,000 people, has seen bitter street fighting and most of its residents have fled.I’m sure that if I had a different idea to them, I wouldn’t be in this position.The ideas are the same and it’s very easy for me to understand them.It would be rude to visit Porto and not try the port.What we like to do as a club is what the CFG like as a group.The Ukrainian military says the attacks included - for the first time - missiles fired from Tu-22 bombers flying over Belarus to the north.There are some little differences but the overarching idea is the same for every club.You’ll probably lose but it’s the taking part that counts, isn’t it? WHERE SHOULD I STAY? Airbnbs in the centre.“I think they’re making it harder for people to come and shop in town,” said 59-year-old Sue Tye.

” Torque were only formed in 2007 and acquired by the CFG a decade later.They were promoted to the first division shortly after the acquisition, relegated the following season, but immediately returned and have stayed there since.Read More on The Sun.Ukraine also reported a heavy rocket strike on Desna, a village near Chernihiv in the north.As a young club, they lag behind the biggest teams in the country when it comes to signing players, so they have to do things differently.“We don’t plan to compete with that.We believe that more players can be produced,” Brunati adds.She said: “It seems a shame to lose the old buildings, it's changed a lot has Leeds.

“We don’t plan to compete for the five or six different generational players that are produced.Instead, we hope that instead of six players, there are 10.” The idea is to open up more opportunities through Torque’s infrastructure so that they can help other players who may have otherwise fallen through the cracks to make a big move.“We see that a lot of players fall away because they don’t have the right opportunities or a good system that supports them, so we want to help them,” Brunati says.“It’s not a case of competing with other teams.” Abbie, who works at House of Fraser, said they had not been told about the closure yet and she was concerned for the staff who will lose their jobs if the department store were to close.

” When Torque do look to sign players, though, they follow the CFG blueprint, which fans of Manchester City will have become familiar with over the years, given their recent history of bringing in recruits with buy-out clauses or from clubs in financial difficulty.“We pay a lot of attention to opportunities in the market in terms of price.For example, if the player is out of contract or the club needs to sell, or we think the player has very high potential,” the influential source says.“Those are the three main things.From there, we see which players are good and then look at what each CFG club needs now or in six months.“It’s a shame putting more apartments in the city centre when the high street is crying out for help.

That’s one way of doing it.Another is a club says, ‘We need this position and this is our budget’ and ask which players from which markets are available.Then we do the cross-checking, comparing players, then the decisions are made.It could be from the clubs to the scouts, or from the scouts to the clubs.” Whereas City would generally look for a player in a specific position, clubs like Torque will be suggested high-potential players and be expected to find room in their squads for them, even if that position is already filled.

Torque do not have their own dedicated scouts but benefit from that vast CFG South American scouting network, which is unrivalled across the continent, never mind Uruguay, and the central team responsible for finding players across the globe.Data collection can be patchy in Uruguay, too, but Torque benefit from City’s know-how when it comes to analysing their own players’ numbers in matches and in training.Communication between clubs and centralised CFG staff is constant, with regular meetings and almost daily contact.Like in Manchester, a core group of influential figures help to ensure that all clubs have the required equipment and that the group’s principles are adhered to.During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, Torque used the precautions set out by City, even though regulations in Uruguay were not as strict.

On the footballing side, Patsy is more influential at Torque than Brunati, and they work together with Brian Marwood, who focuses on the football side, and Diego Gigliani, who makes sure everything runs smoothly.Gigliani is a less well-known part of the set-up but, according to those who work with him, he is vital in maintaining communication between the group’s clubs, participating in every meeting whether they involve board members, negotiators, administrators or the sporting department.An Argentinian, he is described as Soriano’s right-hand man and fundamental to the set-up.And the sporting side is well-stocked, too.“Imagine sitting down at the table and we have the general sporting director in Brian Marwood, who won the Premier League with City, and you can sit and learn from him,” Brunati says.

“It’s the same with Txiki, Quique Carcel (at Girona), Michael Petrillo (at Melbourne City), Claudio Reyna previously and now with David Lee (at New York City).They are sporting directors with more experience than me.I learn a lot from what they do — not just what they say but what they do.” Any major decision at Torque, such as changes to infrastructure, signing players or changing managers, is co-ordinated with Manchester, and the more important the decision — the more money that is involved — the more Manchester is involved.They even help provide the equipment: if a camera is needed to record a training session or a new synthetic pitch, Torque can use the same companies that City use.

The CFG-wide Puma kit deal is also a benefit.“It’s like there is no distance between Manchester and Montevideo,” the source laughs.Overall, the CFG provides around 70 per cent of Torque’s budget and everything is controlled tightly.The eventual goal is for Torque to become self-sustainable.“As South Americans, we have this auto-pressure to win but in the CFG, if everything is on the right path, it’s more about patience,” Brunati adds.

“It’s like a different type of character: much more thoughtful, much calmer when it comes to making decisions, because in South America, we can be a bit more impulsive.” Last January, the CFG added Club Bolivar as its first partner club.Unlike Torque, a young club which even tually changed its colours to match other CFG teams, Bolivar was founded in 1925, already played in light blue, and is the most successful club in Bolivia.“Club Bolivar will be able to access a wide breadth of expertise, proprietary technology, best practice, and strategic advice developed by City Football Group over the past seven years through its multi-club structure,” an official statement read.“More specifically, Club Bolivar will be able to call upon advice on scouting and coaching methodologies, youth academy development strategies, sports science and more.

” Despite their domestic success, the club has been promising to take the next step in the Copa Libertadores and to build their own training ground — rather than renting pitches — and a new stadium, for more than a decade.Marcelo Claure, the president, has funded the team beyond the means of other Bolivian clubs with the aim of competing in the continent’s premier competition but, despite winning their domestic title again this year, their performance in the Libertadores was regarded as a failure.However, in recent months, they have finally made progress with their infrastructure, with their own training ground on the way and plans for a new stadium approved in recent weeks.“From my point of view, I am sure that the CFG have had a direct influence on these plans becoming a reality,” Turco Berdeja, a prominent Bolivian journalist, tells The Athletic.“I think that belonging to such an important group brings higher levels of responsibility.

I think, for Marcelo Claure, being the president of a club that belongs to the City Group has more prestige and the behaviour has to be more in line with the overall principles.“So I think that the City Group has had a direct impact on Bolivar beginning to invest more money in the training ground, to build their own stadium, as it demonstrates their financial power to the group, their commitment, and the application of international standards that do not exist here in Bolivia.” In terms of the CFG’s footprint in South America overall, Cotterill, who has lived on the continent for 20 years, says: “They are well-respected by those working within the football business but while the average football fan in South America will know Manchester City and New York City FC, they probably won’t be aware of the group behind them.” That is the situation in Bolivia, with little known about how clubs are run, including Bolivar.Claure is well known, not least for attending big games in Europe, when he has been invited to City’s Champions League matches.

He also acquired 35 per cent of shares in Girona in 2020, a year before the CFG’s link-up with Bolivar.Alex Granell, a fine player for Girona, moved to Bolivar that same year at the age of 32.In Bolivia, it is rumoured Bolivar’s sporting director, Antonio Carlos Zago, could be on the move to Brazilian side Bahia — one of the clubs linked with a CFG takeover in recent months.Just as with their opportunistic approach to signing players, the CFG is always looking for new clubs to join the group.In Europe, Lommel and Troyes joined for low prices during the pandemic.

Moves had been being made in Russia and now Palermo in Italy are set to be the next addition.In January 2021, Bolivar became City Football Group’s first partner club (Photo: Aizar Raldes/AFP via Getty Images) Brazil is on the list of priorities now, too, although finding the ideal candidate has not been easy.Only recently did it become possible for outside investment in Brazilian clubs, with law changes permitting up to 90 per cent of shares to be acquired.Botafogo had been linked with the CFG, but in March they reached an agreement with an investor from the US.It was reported in Brazil that a bid of €180 million was made to acquire 51 per cent of Atletico Mineiro’s shares but they wanted double that.

Bahia, in the second division but a big name, may be more attainable.Like the CFG, Red Bull is always quick to explore new ground and in 2019, it took over Bragantino, rebranding them Red Bull Bragantino and changing their kit colours.They were promoted to the top flight that year and have bought or taken on loan lots of players from Brazil and further afield.Buyout clauses are usually set at a lower rate if they move between Brazilian clubs, which presents a significant opportunity to bring talent into a group of clubs.Red Bull has generally focused on players under the age of 21, usually costing around the £2.

5 million mark.“If the CFG were to take control of a Brazilian club, they could follow the Red Bull model and buy players from the region for lower transfer fees before moving them on,” says Cotterill.“However, this would be a big step as most clubs are burdened with staggering debts, poor infrastructure and low attendance, and it’s no surprise that the CFG have not been able to find the right opportunity so far.” Perhaps a more modest Brazilian club would be suitable, which was the case when the CFG finally ventured into China in 2019, buying third-division side Sichuan Jiuniu, given the major spending by top-flight clubs during the group’s initial expansion period.They have still been able to pick up top talents from the market, though.

In March, Gabriel Pereira, 20, moved from Brazil’s Corinthians to New York City for around £4 million.Last year, Talles Magno, 18, also joined New York City from Vasco da Gama for an initial fee of around £6.5 million, while Fluminense sold Metinho, 18, to Troyes for £4 miliion and Kayky , 17, directly to City for a reported £9 million plus add-ons.After a season training with Guardiola’s team and playing for the club’s under-23 team, he is adapting to life in Europe.That will be one of the challenges facing Argentina forward Alvarez once he arrives this summer, but all the big players in Manchester are excited to see him come into the squad.

They can thank Patsy and his team for that — with possibly more to come.(Top photo: Julian Alvarez, who Manchester City signed from River Plate in January; Matias Baglietto/NurPhoto via Getty Images) National.

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