The wave of American ownership in European pro soccer could soon include Major League Soccer’s LAFC.
The club — whose ownership ranks include Golden State Warriors co-executive chair Peter Guber and actor Will Ferrell — is reportedly in talks to acquire Switzerland’s Grasshopper Club Zurich, becoming the latest U.S. team to invest in soccer on the continent.
Founded in 1886, Grasshopper Club Zurich plays in the Swiss Super League, the top of that country’s soccer pyramid. Its Chinese ownership group is led by Jenny Wang, wife of billionaire Guo Guangchang, founder of Fosun International Ltd.
A deal isn’t guaranteed, but Wang first placed the franchise up for sale in April.
The defending MLS champion, LAFC remains one of MLS’ top performers, finishing third in the Western Conference on the field this season and ninth in attendance with an average of 20,204.
If completed, the transaction would add to accelerating American ownership interest in top leagues such as the Premier League and Serie A, smaller ones such as the Belgian Pro League, and the lower reaches of French and Italian soccer — not to mention the high-profile acquisition of fourth-division Welsh club Wrexham A.F.C. by Hollywood stars Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney.
Most recently, Florida-based 777 Partners is seeking to acquire Everton in a deal that would see Americans own half of the Premier League’s clubs, including iconic franchises Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, and Manchester United.