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Newcastle owners expected to invest in Belgium, purchase KV Oostende

The Saudi Arabia-backed board is reportedly interesting in expanding their soccer portfolio

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KV Oostende v KAA Gent - Jupiler Pro League Photo by Jeroen Meuwsen/BSR Agency/Getty Images

In a note published on Thursday, April 20, Matt Slater of The Athletic ($) reported the interest of Newcastle United’s owners in acquiring Belgium’s second-division side KV Oostende.

The multi-club model has long been established in world soccer and there were reports emerging earlier this year after the Saudi board took over Newcastle about the PIF willingness to acquire other organizations to widen their presence in Europe.

According to Slatter’s post, Newcastle’s “representatives” are already “in talks to purchase” KV Oostende. Slatter also revealed that “a group from the Public Investment Fund watched Oostende” last Saturday in their latest second-division match.

Oostende got related to the second tier of Belgian football ranks last year after spending 10 seasons in Belgium’s top-flight division. Slatter quoted the price of the club at “around £10m” in his report.

Currently under the ownership of Pacific Media Group (US-based), Oostende is part of a stable of clubs in which PMG has shares and that already features Barnsley, Den Bosch, Esbjerg, Kaiserslautern, Nancy, Oostende, Thun, and GKS Tychy.

After Oostende got relegated, though, PMG started to look for buyers as they don’t want to pony up the money needed to keep their head above water. Newcastle are not the only team interested in buying the second-division side, though, with Slatter mentioning “Wolves and one other English team” as potential buyers of the Belgian side.

According to Slatter, Newcastle “also have options” such as Standard Liege—one of Belgium’s legendary clubs—with some board members having watched the squad play a game live on location.

Standard Liege are owned by 777 Partners (also based in the USA). In an earlier report published at The Athletic ($) it was revealed that PIF might entertain the idea of taking over the whole collection of 777 clubs, including Genoa, Hertha Berlin, and Sevilla.

Slatter finished his post by confirming that “PIF is also believed to be talking to several other European clubs,” citing the main reason for that as “using the network of clubs to find and develop young players, showcase them and eventually sell them to clubs higher up the food chain.”

Another reason cited by Slatter is that this approach can help “cut costs by pooling resources,” and also “nurture talent while it earns enough points to gain a UK work permit,” in the case of Premier League clubs looking for potential transfers down the road.