Manchester United have been linked with buying out Australian club Central Coast Mariners.
The Sydney Morning Herald report that United are in talks to buy the A League side.
They report that United are planning to relocate the club to Sydney and turning them into a sister outfit.
Who are Central Coast Mariners?
They were founded in November 2004 and play at the 20,059-capacity Central Coast Stadium.
The Mariners came bottom of the A League last season but sit top of the table this time around.
They are two points clear of second-placed Melbourne City, who do have a game in hand.
Is there any precedent?
Melbourne City are actually a sister club for Manchester City, who also have partnerships with New York City and Girona.
The battle between the Mariners and Melbourne would take on a new dimension if it was a case of United and City facing off for supremecy.
How much would it cost?
The report doesn’t name a price to buy the Mariners, but says it would be a figure United could comfortably afford.
The Mariners apparently have financial issues, so would be very open to United’s involvement.
And the other clubs in the league would apparently be keen to have United involved to boost their global profile.
Are there any links between the Mariners and United?
In July 2018, Mike Phelan was appointed Sporting Director with the Australian outfit.
It was a role he took up until he was brought into Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s coaching team, initially on an interim basis.
Phelan clearly didn’t get to spend much time with the club but clearly thought there was potential there worth working with.
United would hope to explore that if a takeover got over the line.
What do they say in Australia?
There could be plenty of local opposition to a move, as expressed in The Guardian by writer and supporter Ray Gatt.
He says: “Speaking as a long-time Mariners supporter and season ticket holder, the game simply cannot allow one of the A-League’s few true community clubs to be shafted, rebranded and parachuted into a Sydney region that does not really possess a sporting soul. Especially when they are top of the table for the first time in an age.”
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