Joseph DaGrosa
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American investor DaGrosa eyes Premier League club

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American investor Joseph DaGrosa is well-positioned for his next investment in football, and he’s thinking very big.

DaGrosa exited Ligue 1 outfit Bordeaux and says he passed on buying Newcastle in recent months, also making a pair of big real estate moves just before the pandemic hit.

Had he purchased Newcastle or stayed with Bordeaux, he’d be amongst the many European club owners weathering a terrible climate while waiting out a pandemic.

Instead, DaGrosa sees an opportunity to build around a massive club in the Premier League or La Liga. He’s made his money in turning around companies, and believes that wisdom can be applied here on a broad scale.

“In this environment, given what’s going on with the coronavirus pandemic, we believe there’s an opportunity to recreate City Football Group at a fraction of the cost,” DaGrosa told ProSoccerTalk this week. “Club valuations are already coming down. In many cases, clubs are going to be effectively taken over by their lenders. There’s going to be some great opportunities in the next 12 months, and great opportunities to get world-class players at a fraction of the cost. This is the time to capitalize it.”

Here’s how it would work for his project, which he’s calling Kapital Football Group, “a new soccer platform holding company, to acquire controlling and influential minority stakes in world-class football clubs and academies at deep valuation discounts.”

DaGrosa aims to buy “an anchor club, most likely in the Premier League,” and then invest in three to five satellite clubs in Europe and South America. He’d also invest in nine academies, three in Asia, three in Africa, and three between North and South America. He didn’t rule out investing in MLS if the valuation proves fruitful, but DaGrosa is also “taking a real hard look” at USL clubs.

“If we can put that together we’ll have a formidable group that can rival City Football Group,” he said.

The CEO and co-founder of GACP Sports, DaGrosa starting eyeballing clubs, including Spanish outfit Getafe a couple of years ago. That didn’t work out during the due diligence stage, which led him to Bordeaux.

He calls running the Ligue 1 club “a fantastic learning experience for the world of European football.”

“Today we have a better appreciation for the importance of legacy of the clubs as well as the importance of the fans contributing to that success,” he said. “And thanks to that experience, we now look for those same qualities in the clubs we are looking to acquire next.”

A rumored 2019 deal to buy Newcastle didn’t work out, but DaGrosa is still laser-focused on making his impact on the global game.

What kind of club is he eyeing? Is it strictly about the best bang for his buck, or does the appeal and history of the club carry significant weight?

“Legacy is a big part out of it,” he said. “I’m even more sensitive today given our experience at Bordeaux. We always understood the legacy and passion of the fans, but all clubs have a special place in the history of the cities and communities in which they are located. In some cases, they are the lifeblood. In the U.S. you think of the Green Bay Packers. I have a much better appreciation for legacy in the history of the clubs we are looking to require, particularly in the Premier League. It’s less important in the U.S. where you don’t have multi-generational ties to one club, but it’s still important.”

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ] 

There’s keen interest in the United States, as DaGrosa stresses what many investors have noted: The 2026 World Cup is going to drive interest in the potential of this country both here and abroad.

We asked DaGrosa why, given that, he wouldn’t dive into Major League Soccer? He’s not ruling it out, but expressed concerns with the franchise fees and revenues in the short-term. Building a club here takes a lot more investment, risk, and patience than, say, a century-old club that holds sway in its region.

“You can build a club (in MLS) that’s going to cost 500 or 600 million bucks,” he said. “At the end of the day, you’re paying 10 times revenues. Or you can buy a club like Bordeaux established in 1881 that has a remarkable history, pedigree, and is a brand known around the world, for 1.6 times revenue. When you look at the metrics it’s hard, not impossible to make a compelling case for MLS over the short-term. If you have a lot of staying power, there’s money to be made but clubs in general are going to trade as a function of their broadcasting rights revenue, and we’re just not seeing that in the U.S. at a rate required to justify the valuation.”

DaGrosa believes in the American soccer market and says the system is on the verge of becoming an elite talent exporter, comparing its potential to that of a current font further south.

“Other markets are going to open up,” he said. “Most of the great clubs in Brazil were insolvent before the effects of the coronavirus. There’s a movement to privatize clubs and we feel there’s going to be an opportunity to get the really top names in Brazil. Those satellite clubs are designed to be good investments in their own right but the name of the game is to secure world class players and Brazil is one of those markets that can immediately supply world class players. The U.S. is a market that can do that in five to seven years.”

DaGrosa’s interest in the Premier League is deep-seated, and has only grown given his expectations for how well the league is equipped to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The PL will emerge as the strongest league and there may be some good deals to be had,” he said. “There are going to be financially distressed owners throughout football globally. There will be some lenders that are going to be scared to death who’d love to create a win-win with someone with capital. If the market is down 20-30 percent, segments of the public market that will be down 30-40 percent, football could be down 50-75 percent. It’s a great time to buy with dry powder so after the acquisitions you can build up a world-class team at a fraction of what it would otherwise cost. In our discussion with investors, we can essentially buy today and invest 25-40 cents on the dollar relative to what we would’ve paid six months ago.”

That’s when he was in “mid-to-late stage discussions” with Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley and his partners about the northeast outfit.

DaGrosa insists that Ashley was “first-class” in negotiations despite many reports about his combustible nature.

“It’s unfortunate in one respect that the deal didn’t go forward,” he said. “With a guy like Mike Ashley you might get punched in the face but you’ll never get knifed in the back. At the time it was disappointing the deal didn’t go forward. It was on our side that a major backer pulled out at the last minute but hindsight is 20-20. Better to be lucky than smart because we probably dodged a short-term bullet.”

Now that twist of fate and timing may launch a wildly ambitious project in the next 12 months.

Europa League: How to watch, odds, start time, predictions

Europa League
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The UEFA Champions League and Europa League resume this week and I’m going to reveal my predictions for this next round as well as the latest odds for Europe’s top two continental tournaments.

[ LIVE: Champions League scores

With Manchester City and Chelsea still in the Champions League and Manchester United and Wolves among the favorites to win the Europa League, there is a lot on the line for Premier League clubs in the coming weeks.

Just because the Premier League season is over, that doesn’t mean the action is over. Far from it.

[ LIVE: Europa League scores ]

In the next few days the Europa League and Champions League Round of 16 second legs will take place before mini tournaments begin.

Man City lead Real Madrid 2-1 from their first leg in Spain, while Chelsea trail Bayern 3-0 as they head to Germany for the return game. Man United are all but in the quarterfinals, while Wolves are favored to make the Europa quarters too.

Lisbon, Portugal will host the Champions League games from the quarterfinal stage onwards, while the Europa League games will be hosted around Germany.

Below is a look at my predictions, the odds for the games this week and how to watch and follow all of the fixtures in the USA.


How to watch, stream Champions League and Europa League

Dates: August 5-23
Location: Round of 16 at home venues; Quarterfinals onwards in Lisbon/Germany
How to watch: CBS Sports
Live updates: UCL here at NBCSports.com & Europa League here at NBCSports.com


JPW’s Champions League predictions

Round of 16 (August 7-8)
Friday, August 7: Manchester City 1-1 Real Madrid (2-1)
Friday, August 7: Juventus 2-1 Lyon (0-1)
Saturday, August 8: Barcelona 3-1 Napoli (1-1)
Saturday, August 8: Bayern Munich 2-1 Chelsea (3-0)


JPW’s Europa League predictions

Round of 16 (August 5-6)
Copenhagen 1-2 Istanbul Basaksehir
Wolves 2-0 Olympiakos
Bayer Leverkusen 2-1 Rangers
Shakhtar Donetsk 1-3 Wolfsburg
Basel 1-2 Eintracht Frankfurt
Manchester United 3-1 LASK
Inter Milan 3-0 Getafe
Sevilla 1-3 Roma


Champions League betting odds

Round of 16 (August 7-8)
(-139) Manchester City v. Real Madrid (+320). Tie: +340
(-230) Juventus v. Lyon (+650). Tie: +340
(-150) Barcelona v. Napoli (+400). Tie: +300
(-250) Bayern Munich v. Chelsea (+650). Tie: +410

Quarterfinals (August 12-13)
(+200) Atalanta v. Paris Saint-Germain (+120). Tie: +285
(+225) RB Leipzig v. Atletico Madrid (+133). Tie: 220

Outright winner
Manchester City (+350)
Bayern Munich (+365)
Paris Saint-Germain (+450)
Atletico Madrid (+700)
Atalanta (+950)
Barcelona (+1100)
RB Leipzig (+1500)
Juventus (+1700)


Europa League betting odds

Round of 16 (August 5-6)
(+155) Copenhagen v. Istanbul Basaksehir (+180). Tie: +235
(-134) Wolves v. Olympiakos (+390). Tie: +260
(-162) Bayer Leverkusen v. Rangers (+410). Tie: +310
(+135) Shakhtar Donetsk v. Wolfsburg (+185). Tie: +265
(+155) Basel v. Eintracht Frankfurt (+155). Tie: +275
(-455) Manchester United v. LASK (+1200). Tie: +550
(-143) Inter Milan v. Getafe (+385). Tie: +285
(+110) Sevilla v. Roma (+270). Tie: +230

Outright winner
Manchester United (+160)
Inter Milan (+500)
Bayer Leverkusen (+700)
Wolves (+800)
Sevilla (+900)

Europa League: Man United, Inter Milan advance to QF

Europa League Man United
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Results from the round of 16 in the Europa League: Man United and Inter Milan advanced to the quarterfinals on Wednesday…

[MORE: Man City sign Nathan Ake from Bournemouth ]

Man United 2 (7)-1 (1) LASK

Manchester United had a virtually insurmountable advantage following their first-leg demolition of Austrian side LASK, which gave Ole Gunnar Solskjaer the freedom to rotate his team ahead of the second leg at Old Trafford.

Philipp Wiesinger opened the scoring not long before the hour mark, and did so in spectacular — if understated — fashion. LASK’s free kick was initially headed out of the penalty area, but the ball fell to Wiesinger with not a single red shirt within 10 yards. The first-time rocket he unleashed couldn’t have been placed any better.

United hit back through Jesse Lingard just two minutes later, though, restoring the five-goal lead and ruining any dreams of a miraculous comeback at the Theater of Dreams. Anthony Martial added to the lopsided final scoreline in the 88th.

United will face Danish side Copenhagen in the quarterfinals on Monday, Aug. 10.

[ MORE: Report: Arsenal offer Willian three-year deal ]

Inter Milan 2-0 Getafe

The first and only leg (due to the previous coronavirus shutdowns in Italy and Spain) of Inter Milan’s last-16 clash with Getafe was played at Schalke’s Veltins-Arena, and Romelu Lukaku proved to be the hero of the day for Antonio Conte’s side as he bagged the game’s opening goal in the 33rd minute. After getting on the end of Alessandro Bastoni’s long ball forward, Lukaku put his left foot through the ball and snuck it just inside the far post.

Super-duper sub Christian Eriksen sealed Inter’s place in the quarterfinals, where they’ll face Rangers or Bayer Leverkusen, with a cool second-chance finish in the 83rd minute.

Other Europa League scores

Copenhagen 3 (3)-0 (1) Istanbul Basaksehir
Shakhtar Donetsk 3 (5)-1 (1) Wolfsburg

Thursday’s Europa League schedule

Sevilla v. Roma — 12:55 pm ET
Bayern Leverkusen (3) v. Rangers (1) — 12:55 pm ET
Wolverhampton Wanderers (1) v. Olympiacos (1) — 3 pm ET
Basel (3) v. Eintracht Frankfurt (0) — 3 pm ET

Man City sign Nathan Ake from Bournemouth

Man City sign Nathan Ake
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Man City sign Nathan Ake from Bournemouth: Another day, another potentially transformative signing for Pep Guardiola and Co., as they reload for their quest to reclaim the Premier League title.

[ MORE: Report: Arsenal offer Willian three-year deal ]

Ake joins Man City after four hugely successful seasons at Bournemouth, which initially took him on loan from Chelsea in 2016 before making the deal permanent for $26 million a year later. With the Cherries relegated from the PL this season, Ake was always going to leave the Vitality Stadium for top-tier pastures.

The transfer fee is said to be in the neighborhood of $52 million, which makes the 25-year-old a relative steal in comparison to fees now being paid for center backs around Europe. Given he has ample experience in the PL, and earned much of it playing in a side that favored a hugely expansive possession style of soccer, Ake should gain Guardiola’s trust and favor rather quickly as we begin to look toward the 2020-21 season.

[ MORE: Transfer rumor roundup: Gabriel to Arsenal; Lewis to Liverpool ]

John Stones has mostly struggled to impress and raise his level to that of City since moving to the Etihad Stadium in 2016, leaving Guardiola with a serious need at center back alongside Aymeric Laporte. Midfielder Fernandinho was regularly deputized in recent seasons, but that will no longer be necessary with one of the 10-12 best central defenders in the world arriving this summer.

Report: Arsenal offer Willian three-year deal

Arsenal offer Willian
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Arsenal offer Willian three-year deal to join on free transfer: According to multiple reports out of the UK, the Gunners have made the soon-to-be former Chelsea winger a very high priority in the opening hours and days of the summer/fall transfer window of 2020.

[ MORE: Transfer rumor roundup: Gabriel to Arsenal; Lewis to Liverpool ]

With other interest reportedly coming from Barcelona and MLS side Inter Miami, Willian undoubtedly has options as a free agent following the expiration of his Chelsea contract. According to Sky Sports, the weekly wages offered by Arsenal are “still some way short” of those coming from Barca and Miami.

The 31-year-old is said to have been open to remaining at Stamford Bridge, but he was only offered a two-year contract to do so, prompting him to explore possibilities elsewhere.

Despite starting the season at 30 and turning 31 in September, Willian put together his best season for the Blues, at least statistically speaking, in 2019-20. The Brazilian tallied nine goals and seven assists (in 36 appearances) in Premier League action, plus another pair of goals and an assist between the Champions League and FA Cup.

[ MORE: Premier League transfers: Every deal from all 20 clubs ]

Factoring in their willingness to give him the third year he clearly desires, in order to secure his earning power until he’s 35, Arsenal could very well be favorites to land Willian.

Let’s say they’re offering $150,000 per week, which comes out to a little over $7.8 million per year, bringing the grand total to more than $23 million over three years. Even if Barca have offered $200,000 per week for just the two seasons, the total package falls roughly $4 million short over the life of the respective offers. Sure, Willian could take the gamble of the shorter, more lucrative offer and then be available for another move in the summer of 2022, but such a decision would come without the added security given he’ll be 34 years old at the time and could see his abilities and production fall off dramatically.