Anelka buys Belgian club Ath as he moves towards coaching
Published on Monday, 20 July 2015 11:35
Anelka at AthBy Samindra Kunti
July 20 - In a surprise move former France international Nicolas Anelka has bought Ath, a Belgian fourth division club on the brink of extinction.
Anelka had spells at PSG, Chelsea, Manchester City, Juventus, Real Madrid and Arsenal during his club career, but often hit the headlines for his controversial behavior. He is now the marquee player-manager at Mumbai City, a franchise playing in the Indian Super League. This season he will take his first steps as a coach.
The 36-year-old was rumored to have expressed an interest in Ath, a struggling fourth division club in Belgium, according to newspaper Sudpresse. On Saturday Anelka was spotted on the touchline, wearing a checkered shirt and sunglasses as he watched Ath take on Warcoing in a friendly match. The Frenchman has thrown Ath a lifeline by injecting new capital with the new season set to start next weekend.
Ath's sports director Fabrice van Robays confirmed that the deal was going through, but no financial terms were disclosed. Ath will play its first competitive fixture of the season on Sunday.
Anelka's particular interest in Ath remains unclear, but he is the latest high-profile international investor to turn his eye to Belgian football.
In recent months Malaysian billionaire businessman and Cardiff City owner Vincent Tan acquired top flight club KV Kortrijk for a reported €5 million; super agent Pin Zahavi became the majority shareholder at Royal Mouscron-Péruwelz, another top flight club, by investing a reported €8.5 million.