Nigerian billionaire Aliko Dangote has recently withdrawn his interest in purchasing French club Valenciennes football club, according to reports from Sporty9ja. The decision came as a surprise to many, as Dangote had initially shown a strong desire to become the owner of the Ligue 2 side and was considered the frontrunner in the race for ownership. However, it seems that Danish investment firm Sport Republic is now in pole position to secure the purchase, with Valenciennes’ management confirming that they are currently engaged in exclusive negotiations with the company.
Sport Republic, based in London, already holds majority stakes in two other clubs – English side FC Southampton (80%) and Turkish outfit Göztepe Izmir (70%). If the purchase of Valenciennes goes ahead, it will mark the company’s first venture into French football. Valenciennes, who secured their place in Ligue 2 despite a recent defeat against Saint-Étienne, have yet to taste success in the top division. However, they have won titles in Ligue 2, Championnat National, and Championnat de France amateur, and made their first and only appearance in the Coupe de France final in 1951.
This news comes as somewhat of a disappointment for those who had hoped to see Dangote make his mark in European football. The Nigerian tycoon is a renowned serial entrepreneur and the wealthiest individual in Africa, and had previously expressed his desire to invest in football clubs across the continent. However, it seems that his interest in Valenciennes has now come to an end. While the reasons behind his decision are not yet clear, it is clear that Sport Republic now has a great opportunity to make its mark in French football and take Valenciennes to new heights.