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Atletico Madrid To Sell 20 Percent Stake To Chinese Billionaire

atletico-madrid-winnersAccording to Spanish newspaper AS, La Liga champions Atletico Madrid are close to agreeing a sale of a 20% stake in the club to Chinese billionaire Wang Jianlin.

Atleti president Enrique Cerezo has flown out to Beijing to meet with chief executive Miguel Angel Gil, who is already there working on negotiations with Wang over the sale. An indication of how advanced the talks are that Cerezo and Gil will both miss the first leg of the Copa del Rey quarter-final tie against Barcelona at the Camp Nou this week.

According to reports, Wang will pay €40m for a 20% stake and that he will eventually succeed Cerezo, who has been president of Atletico since 2002.

Wang’s financial strength is cause for optimism among Atletico supporters, who have seen their club struggle to compete financially with both Real Madrid and Barcelona. Although under Diego Simeone, Atleti have more than held their own on the pitch in recent years.

Reuters are reporting Wang has ambitious plans to move the team away from their Calderon stadium to a new 70,000-seater stadium near La Peineta within the next couple of years. Plans are also said to be in place for a new training complex, including a 15,000-seater stadium for the second and third teams.

With Financial Fair Play Atleti fans will not see an immediate splash in the transfer market with Wang’s money. Instead, by increasing matchday revenues with a new and bigger stadium, and by taking advantage of the growing Asian market to grow their commercial revenues, Atleti fans could see their club close the financial gulf between themselves and Real Madrid and Barcelona.