Exclusive: Manchester City secure deal for first refusal on Brazilian talent
Link up with two Portuguese clubs will give Premier League side a competitive advantage in the recruitment of Brazilian players
Manchester City have secured a commercial interest in two Portuguese clubs that will give them a competitive advantage in the recruitment of Brazilian players and may boost future attempts to pass Uefa's Financial Fair Play test.
City are providing "scouting, marketing and merchandising advice" at Gil Vicente, a club in northern Portugal, and also pursuing shares in Boavista, the Porto-based club, according to sources in that country.
City's advantage in recruiting Brazilian players would stem from a Portuguese immigration treaty with Brazil, its former colony, which confers the same rights on Brazilians as Portuguese workers. City could use the clubs to develop players for whom they are unable to secure UK work permits – then move them to Manchester once they have acquired the requisite experience to qualify for a UK permit, or sell them for profit. Since third-party ownership of players, outlawed in Britain, is also permitted, Portugal provides potential for City to have first call on players who could thus be bought cheaply.
Gil Vicente, with seven Brazilians on their books, said the City partnership would bring it "sustainability, projection, prestige" and an "international dimension". Deals with the two clubs may also help City account for some of the huge revenues they have claimed for the sale of their intellectual property to "related parties" – £22.45m in the recently published 2012/13 annual accounts – in order to help pass their impending FFP test. City must show as much revenue as possible to offset losses and come within the FFP figure of £37m lost over the last two seasons.
City say they earned the £22.45m by selling scouting and commercial services to their own Melbourne Heart soccer franchise, Manchester City Ladies FC and their New York City FC – City's new Major League Soccer club. But Melbourne was only bought last month and the women's team requires an entirely different scouting system to the men's side. Analysts are subsequently baffled as to how the new US venture could possibly have contributed so substantially to City's revenues.
The new Portuguese ventures may generate intellectual property sales to boost City's hopes of FFP compliance, though both are modestly financed clubs.
The deals, which the club declined to discuss this weekend, appear to have been engineered by City's Partnership Sales Manager, Francisco Lampreia, who was formerly marketing director at Boavista. Lampreia and City chief executive Ferran Soriano visited Boavista three months ago and appear to be seeking a share in the club.
Latest in Sport
Mario Balotelli scored as many goals for AC Milan on second debut as he did for Liverpool in the Premier League last season
Manchester City, Manchester United and Chelsea top the list of the Premier League's most expensive squads
Cyprus vs Wales match report: Gareth Bale's bullet header has Welsh on brink of Euro 2016
Jose Mourinho: Chelsea manager has four Guinness World records hanging in his office
Sir Alex Ferguson: 'I place discipline above all else and it might have cost us several titles...' but Manchester United boss wouldn't change it
- 1 President Obama leaves touching comment on Humans of New York photo from Iran
- 2 If these extraordinarily powerful images of a dead Syrian child washed up on a beach don't change Europe's attitude to refugees, what will?
- 3 The Chinese city where men have 'three girlfriends because there are so many women'
- 4 'Heartbreaking' Syria orphan photo wasn't taken in Syria and not of orphan
- 5 German police forced to ask public to stop bringing donations for refugees arriving by train
Britain to take more refugees as Cameron bows to pressure after more than 250,000 back our campaign
Senior British politicians tell David Cameron: When dead children are being washed up on beaches – it's time to act
Jeremy Corbyn calls Osama bin Laden's killing a 'tragedy' - but was it taken out of context?
If these extraordinarily powerful images of a dead Syrian child washed up on a beach don't change Europe's attitude to refugees, what will?
If you're not already angry about the refugee crisis, here's a history lesson to remind you why you really should be
Make your voice heard: Sign The Independent's petition to welcome refugees