The richest man in Africa, Aliko Dangote, is reportedly close to sealing a deal to purchase a French team, Valenciennes FC.
The French media outlet, Entreprendre, claimed that the Nigerian, the 86th richest man in the world, would initially take over the 60 per cent stake of the Eddy Zdziech family and would thereafter look to gain full control of the club, which was established in 1913.
The 110-year-old cub has spent an equal amount of time playing in Ligue 1 and Ligue 2, having played 40 seasons in the first division and 36 seasons in the second division. They have never won the first division, but have won Ligue 2 on two occasions. Valenciennes have also won the Championnat National and the Championnat de France amateur in 2005 and 1998, respectively.
Some notable former players of the club include Argentina 1986 World Cup winner Jorge Burruchaga, Cameroon legend Roger Milla, former Senegal national team coach Bruno Metsu, and former France national team star Jean-Pierre Papin.
With six games until the end of the Ligue 2 season, Valenciennes currently lie 15th in the table, with 37 points from 32 games, and three points clear of the relegation zone.
An acquisition by Dangote might propel them to the next level by signing the best legs and revitalising the team as a whole, but the club’s main priority would be retaining their Ligue 2 status.
Dangote had in the past tried to buy a controlling share in Arsenal, most notably in 2010, but his bid was unsuccessful.
Eight years later, in an interview with the Financial Times, he said that he would buy Arsenal as a reward for completing his $10-billion refinery in Lagos., while in 2020, he also said he was going to make a bid for the English Premier League club in the future, and take over the ownership of the London-based club from Stan Kroenke.