Manchester City owners City Football Group (CFG) are considering expanding their Asian interests into South Korea, local outlets reported on Monday.
The move could potentially see the Sheikh Mansour-backed conglomerate, which already holds controlling or minority stakes in four clubs across the world, attempt to break into the financially stagnant K League.
In order to negotiate K-League rules restricting foreign ownership, CFG are said to be examining a partnership with Nexen Tire, a Seoul-based company which already sponsors Korean Baseball Championship side Nexen Heroes.
The move represents a bold step for Manchester City into South Korea, a country dominated by rivals Manchester United, where national hero Park Ji-sung spent the prime of his career.
While it is unclear whether or not City’s interest will take shape in the form of investment into a current club or the creation of a new club, the alliance with Nexen mirrors last year’s partnership with Nissan, majority shareholders in Japan’s Yokohama F. Marinos. Following the J-League’s loosening of rules regarding foreign ownership, City are widely expected to acquire a majority stake in that club later this year.
In addition to the Japanese side, City are also majority owners of Australia’s Melbourne City FC and Major League Soccer’s New York City FC.