In recent football news, Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) has granted permission for Lee Kang-in to participate in the Asian Games, demonstrating their support for the South Korean midfielder's international commitment. Meanwhile, Everton Football Club is set for an ownership transition, with US investment firm 777 Partners finalizing a takeover deal, marking yet another instance of American involvement in the Premier League. These developments signify the dynamic nature of football, where international tournaments and ownership changes continue to shape the sport's landscape.
PSG Grants Lee Kang-in Permission for Asian Games Group Stage
In a significant development, Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) has given the green light for their pivotal attacking midfielder, Lee Kang-in, to participate in the upcoming group phase of the Asian Games. The official confirmation comes from the Korea Football Association (KFA), underlining the club's cooperation with South Korea's national team aspirations.
Lee Kang-in, a notable summer signing for PSG, arrived with a price tag of 22 million euros ($23.5 million) from Mallorca. However, a setback in the form of a thigh injury sidelined him for four weeks last month. Fortunately, he has since made a full recovery, paving the way for his involvement in the Asian Games.
The timeline of his availability had raised concerns, with South Korea's men's football coach, Hwang Sun-hong, expressing his frustration over PSG's lack of clarity on the matter. The impasse has now been resolved.
"After discussions, PSG and KFA reached an agreement on the night of September 14 that Lee Kang-in will be released for South Korea after (PSG's) UEFA Champions League group stage match on Tuesday," stated the Korea Football Association.
Following this decision, Lee Kang-in is set to depart from France on Wednesday, heading to Hangzhou, China, to join the South Korean men's Asian Games football squad.
Notably, PSG's upcoming UEFA Champions League clash against Borussia Dortmund on Tuesday coincides with South Korea's opening match in the Asian Games against Kuwait. While Lee Kang-in might make it in time for the group match against Thailand on Thursday, it's unlikely he will feature extensively due to the rigors of travel. The team is also scheduled to face Bahrain on Sunday.
Worth mentioning is the age-restricted nature of football squads at the Asian Games, which allows only under-24 players but permits three over-age players. This decision places added responsibility on Lee Kang-in, as the absence of Tottenham Hotspur forward Son Heung-min, who led South Korea to gold in 2018, adds to the expectations surrounding his performance.
US Investment Firm 777 Partners Secures Everton Takeover
In a significant development in the football world, Everton Football Club is on the brink of becoming the latest Premier League club to come under American ownership, as British-Iranian businessman Farhad Moshiri has struck a deal with US investment firm 777 Partners for the sale of his 94 percent shareholding.
Moshiri's move to bring in investors is primarily aimed at securing funds for Everton's ambitious new 53,000-seat stadium project at Bramley-Moore Dock, scheduled to open in the upcoming season.
The 777 Football Group, a conglomerate with interests in football across the globe, has already established its presence in various clubs, including Sevilla, Genoa, Hertha Berlin, Standard Liege, France's Red Star, and Melbourne Victory.
Moshiri acknowledged the evolving landscape of football ownership, stating, "The days of an owner/benefactor are seemingly out of reach for most, and the biggest clubs are now typically owned by well-resourced PE (private equity) firms, specialist sports investors, or state-backed companies and funds."
He further elaborated on his choice of partner, saying, "Through my lengthy discussions with 777... I believe they are the best partners to take our great club forward, with all the benefits of their multi-club investment model."
Since acquiring the majority share in 2016, Moshiri has invested significantly in the team, spending over £500 million ($620 million) on player acquisitions, yet with little notable success on the pitch. Everton has narrowly escaped relegation in the past two seasons and has struggled in the early stages of the current Premier League campaign, securing just one point from their opening four games.
Additionally, issues off the field have plagued the club. Moshiri distanced himself from Goodison Park in recent months due to safety concerns during home matches last season. Everton's financial situation has also been precarious, with losses exceeding £400 million between 2018 and 2022, leading to an investigation into a potential breach of Premier League spending regulations. A ruling on this matter is expected later this year, which could potentially result in point deductions for the club.
Pending approval from football and financial authorities, the Everton takeover by 777 Partners is anticipated to be finalized in the fourth quarter of this year. If the transaction proceeds, it will mark the tenth Premier League club under American ownership.
Josh Wander, Founder and Managing Partner of 777 Partners, expressed their enthusiasm for this opportunity, saying, "We are truly humbled by the opportunity to become part of the Everton family as custodians of the club, and consider it a privilege to be able to build on its proud heritage and values."
Everton boasts a rich history in English football, with nine top-flight titles to their name, a feat only surpassed by Manchester United, Liverpool, and Arsenal. However, the club's last league triumph dates back to the 1986/1987 season, and they have not lifted a trophy since 1995.