France international footballer N’Golo Kante has made headlines in the football world by acquiring the Belgian third-tier club Royal Excelsior Virton. This move showcases Kante’s prowess not only on the field but also in the boardroom, as he takes on the role of chairman at the club.
The news comes shortly after Nigerian billionaire Aliko Dangote’s unsuccessful attempts to secure ownership of Valenciennes football club in France and, before that, Arsenal FC. Dangote, a passionate football enthusiast, faced disappointment in his bid to purchase Arsenal FC and encountered a similar fate with his recent endeavor to acquire Ligue 2 side Valenciennes. Perhaps Dangote could learn a thing or two from Kante on how to successfully complete a club takeover.
On July 1, N’Golo Kante, who currently plays for Chelsea in the Premier League, will assume his new role as chairman at Royal Excelsior Virton. Coincidentally, he will also be completing his anticipated move to Al-Ittihad in the Saudi Arabia Pro League on the same day. This dual role showcases Kante’s commitment and ambition both on and off the field.
Royal Excelsior Virton is currently striving to regain their professional license and will participate in the Belgian National Division 1 during the upcoming 2023-24 season. This division stands two steps below Belgium’s top-tier league, the Belgian Pro League. The club has not disclosed whether Kante paid a fee for the acquisition, but they have emphasized that they are debt-free. Additionally, a board of directors will be established in the coming days to support Kante in his new role.
Kante’s acquisition of Royal Excelsior Virton is in line with a recent trend among professional players. Just this week, Wilfried Zaha announced his collaboration with rapper Stormzy to purchase AFC Croydon Athletic. This shows that players are increasingly looking beyond their playing careers and exploring opportunities to contribute to the growth and development of football clubs.
As N’Golo Kante takes on his new role as chairman, the football world will be watching with great interest. This move not only highlights Kante’s business acumen but also raises questions about the growing influence of players in club ownership. It will be intriguing to see how Kante’s ownership journey unfolds and whether it inspires other players to follow a similar path.