It began as a collaboration, and then emerged the possibility that Manchester City would buy a stake in Girona. Now, the English club will become the majority shareholder in the newly-promoted LaLiga team.
The deal is not yet official, and there remain details to complete. But it will be done. The City Football Group will be touching down on Spanish soil.
Guardiola's brother a key figure
The deal has been developing for some time, with Pere Guardiola, the brother of Pep, as the orchestrator. Two years ago, Pere Guardiola acted as the mediator in the sale of Girona by Josep Delgado to TVSE Futbol, the current owner, and now he has returned. In fact, there remains the possibility that he could assume a place on the Girona board, or have a personal share in the club.
At present, TVSE Futbol owns 80% of the shares, and it is those shares that City would buy. The French company has been gradually washing its hands of the club, and given its share capital, it would struggle to meet the financial challenges that the next season in LaLiga will present.
The remaining 20% is divided between Josep Delgado (18%), and small shareholders (2%). According to L’Esportiu, City would also negotiate to buy Delgado’s shares. Despite the fact that City would have a controlling majority anyway, they want to obtain the highest percentage possible. The negotiations will not be straightforward; they never are when Delgado is involved. His legal situation (he is imprisoned in Poland for fraud) further complicates matters.
Girona will retain name and colours
City Football Group’s plan for Girona is similar to those for the other clubs in their ownership, New York City and Melbourne City. Yet there are certain, crucial differences. Girona will retain its own name and colours.
For Pablo Machín, the Girona manager, the development would present the opportunity to strengthen the squad without placing the club’s economic stability in doubt. City’s investment would, however, go beyond the playing squad. The stadium would be refurbished, a necessary step, and a new training ground would be built in the short term (the next two or three years).