Man City owners close to buying South American club

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The City Football Group is set to add a Uruguayan club to its portfolio, which already includes teams in Manchester, New York and Melbourne

Manchester City's parent company is close to purchasing a club in Uruguay, Goal has learned.

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The City Football Group (CFG) already owns Melbourne City and New York City, as well as holding a stake in Japanese side Yokohama F Marinos, and is keen to expand its network of clubs in both established and emerging football regions.

A new venture in China has been mooted since a consortium backed by the Chinese government invested £265m in Manchester City in December 2015.

And, while opportunities in Asia are still being explored, it is believed negotiations over the purchase of a Uruguayan club are much closer to completion.

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CFG sources hope expansion into the South American market will boost its global profile, as well as aiding in the purchase of players from the region.

Gabriel Jesus' £27 million move from Brazilian side Palmeiras to City was held up by third-party ownership issues, and it is hoped a presence in South America would help avert any similar obstacles in future.

Gabriel Jesus Manchester City 2017

A club in Uruguay would also allow the CFG to more easily recruit the talented South American youngsters identified by City's extensive scouting network.

Manchester City are looking to increase their presence in South America, including the established Brazilian market.

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The club put on an event on Rio de Janeiro's Copacabana beach on Sunday, hosted by former Blue Elano, enabling City fans in the area to watch the Premier League meeting with Liverpool.

The signing of Jesus, who has already established himself as Brazil's No.9 at just 19 years of age, has helped boost the number of City fans in the country.

Tom Glick, chief commercial officer of the CFG, says there are "a number of leagues and countries" that are currently of interest.

"The important thing for us is to add the right clubs in the right cities, in the right leagues," he said on Friday. "We are open to this.

"There are a number of leagues and countries that are quite interesting. It is certainly something we are focused on.

"We are equally focused on making sure each of our current clubs - Manchester, New York, Melbourne, Yokohama - are performing at their highest level."

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