American Investor John Textor has taken a controlling stake in French club Olympique Lyonnais, as per an announcement on their official website. Heading up Eagle Football Holdings who made the acquisition, the statement also included a quote from Textor saying that he would make the Lyon the cornerstone of his project.
This is Eagle Football Holdings fourth investment in football clubs, with a 90% stake in Brazilian giants Botafogo and an 80% stake in RWD Molenbeek in Belgium adding to his 40% share in Crystal Palace. The takeover ends a 35-year reign for Jean-Michel Aulas as the owner of the French side, which included an incredible run of seven straight Ligue 1 titles between 2002 and 2009. Aulas is also expected to remain as President.
The news will no doubt come as a surprise to Palace fans and they may well feel a little put out at being the little brother in Textor’s footballing tree. There’s little doubt that Textor intends to get results however and his investment has already seen Botafogo win promotion back to Brazil’s Serie A. Such are the standards that Textor desires, he then sacked their coach in order to bring in a different manager that fitted their desired playing style better.
It could however also benefit Palace – Lyon have one of the finest academies in Europe and stronger links may lead to opportunities that weren’t previously there. Similar deals have been done between Red Bull Salzburg and RB Leipzig in the past.