Representatives from Fenway Sports Group (FSG) are currently in France to discuss a potential takeover of Girondins de Bordeaux. The French side has endured financial difficulties since the COVID-19 pandemic began in 2020. In fact, due to decreased revenue in recent years, Bordeaux entered administration and then changed ownership in 2021.

The new owner, however, could not right the ship quickly enough. Bordeaux finished bottom of the table following the 2021/22 season, ensuring relegation from Ligue 1. Later that summer, French authorities sent the club down to the third division because of financial problems. Nevertheless, the Girondins successfully appealed the decision and were reinstated in Ligue 2 for the 2022/23 campaign.

Bordeaux then nearly earned immediate promotion back to the top flight. The team came in third during the 2022/23 season, just three points from a place back in Ligue 1. However, the Girondins subsequently finished middle of the pack in the most recent campaign. As a result, they will soon compete once again in Ligue 2.

Liverpool executives meet with France soccer officials amid takeover talks

According to France Bleu Gironde, FSG officials are currently in France to negotiate with Bordeaux’s current owner, Gérard Lopez. The two sides are attempting to work out a deal to essentially help save the historic club. The news source reports that three American key figures at FSG traveled to the French city earlier this week to help iron out a deal.

FSG is currently led by John W. Henry and Tom Werner. The duo famously own Premier League side Liverpool, MLB’s Boston Red Sox, and now NHL team the Pittsburgh Penguins. Both Liverpool and the Red Sox have collected league titles since being purchased by FSG. The group only just completed a takeover of the Penguins in late 2021.

Not only have the Americans met with Bordeaux’s current ownership, but they are also courting French soccer officials as well. The aforementioned report claims FSG representatives are trying to reassure the governing body that they are financially fit enough to guide Bordeaux to safety. Officials are hoping to get a solid understanding of the potential deal ahead of the 2024/25 season.

Exact figures of the possible takeover are not available. Nevertheless, FSG has reportedly confirmed that they would immediately supply Bordeaux with $45 million. This initial fee would safely cover the costs needed for the club to partake in Ligue 2 this upcoming season. Assuming a deal is struck, FSG will become the majority owner of the team. Lopez, however, may ultimately remain with the team as a minority investor.

Lopez worries about Bordeaux becoming a feeder club with Fenway Sports Group

One particular sticking point in the deal could be FSG’s Liverpool ties. Lopez previously denied selling Bordeaux to Todd Boehly’s BlueCo. The French club’s current owner does not want the Girondins to become a feeder team. After all, Bordeaux is historically a significant club in France. They have previously collected six Ligue 1 titles and four Coupe de France trophies.

Boehly previously purchased Premier League side Chelsea in 2022. After failing with Bordeaux, the American billionaire turned to fellow French side Strasbourg. The Blues are essentially using Strasbourg as Chelsea’s farm club. The English side is currently finalizing a deal to sign Team USA Olympic youngster Caleb Wiley. The defender, assuming the move is completed, is expected to spend the 2024/25 season on loan at Strasbourg.

Despite Lopez’s concerns about Bordeaux becoming part of a multi-club model, he must find a partner urgently. If a deal is not in place soon, the team faces the possibility of entering administration. FSG has the track record and the funds to make things work at the French club. Although Liverpool would likely use Bordeaux to help develop players, their owners would save the Girondins from financial ruin.