Sunderland director Juan Sartori has revealed that he wants the Black Cats to invest in a club in his native Uruguay at some point in the future.
Sartori, who holds a 20% stake in Sunderland having first invested in the club in 2018, now has visions of expanding the Wearsider’s horizons, and it seems he already has already identified a number of potential options for feeder clubs in Uruguay.
Speaking about the possibility of Sunderland establishing a link-up with a club in the South American country, Sartori was quoted by The Chronicle as telling Uruguayan broadcaster Radio 1010: “I would love for Sunderland to have an affiliated club in Uruguay.
“I studied a number of Uruguayan clubs to be able to do it, but due to lack of time I could not complete that project. I will surely end up doing it.”
It seems that Sartori is keen to follow in the footsteps of the City Football Group – who own stakes in a number of clubs worldwide, including Manchester City and Uruguayan club Montevideo City Torque – with Sartori revealing he has even held talks with the Uruguayan football authorities about such a move.
Detailing his discussion with the President of the Uruguayan FA (AUF), Ignacio Alonso, about such potential investment, Sartori revealed: “We have a common vision: the social and national importance of Uruguayan soccer, which could be better organized.
“We exchanged points of view. I gave him my vision of European football, professionalism and organization, which is what we want there to be in Uruguay.”
“[I want to] encourage more groups to join professional soccer in Uruguay as the City Group did with Torque.”
Indeed, it seems Sartori believes that that desired interest in football in his home country is already emerging, as he added: “I know a large number of groups that want to participate in Uruguay, but it is important to determine what conditions of guarantees the AUF can generate.”
Sunderland are currently seventh in the League One table, outside the play-offs on goal difference and three points off the automatic promotion places, although it remains to be seen whether they will be given the chance to convert that into promotion to the Championship this season.
The timing of this seems rather strange to me.
Admittedly, the chance to establish a link with another club could benefit Sunderland in the long-term, given the transfer opportunities it could give them down the line.
However, when you consider the much-discussed takeover business there is hanging over the Stadium of Light at the minute, and the financial implications of the uncertainty around this season, this doesn’t really feel like the time to be investing in something that is not altogether that urgent, such as a Uruguayan feeder club.
That is something that Sunderland’s fans will no doubt be well aware of as well, meaning any moves to make such investment in the near future may not go down all that well on Wearside.