Crunching the Numbers: Assessing Athletico’s Billionaire SAF Model

Sir Alex Ferguson stands as one of the most accomplished football managers in history, amassing a staggering 38 trophies during his 26-year tenure at Manchester United, including an impressive 13 Premier League titles and two Champions League victories.

In 2018, Ferguson ventured into the realm of ownership by acquiring a 10% stake in Athletico Paranaense, a prominent Brazilian football club boasting two Copa Sudamericana triumphs in 2018 and 2021, as well as a Copa do Brasil win in 2019.

This investment by Ferguson has ignited speculations that he might be considering an outright acquisition of the club, a move that would make him one of the most affluent football club owners globally.

Determining the exact worth of Athletico proves challenging, as the club is not publicly traded, rendering it devoid of market share prices. Nevertheless, a reasonable estimate can be inferred by examining the values of comparable clubs. For instance, in 2022, Flamengo, another Brazilian club, was sold for a staggering $1 billion. Based on this benchmark, it is conceivable that Athletico’s value would be at least $500 million.

Should Ferguson proceed with the purchase of Athletico, he is likely to apply a model akin to the one that brought him tremendous success at Manchester United. This model revolves around nurturing young talents and subsequently selling them for substantial profits. Furthermore, Ferguson has a commendable track record when it comes to appointing and developing gifted managers.

The results of Ferguson’s model at Manchester United are undeniable, with the club amassing billions in revenue from the transfers of players like Cristiano Ronaldo, David Beckham, and Paul Pogba.

At Athletico, Ferguson’s model could potentially yield even more significant success. Brazil is renowned for its rich history of producing exceptionally talented footballers, and Athletico already has a commendable record of grooming young prospects, exemplified by Bruno Guimarães, who was transferred to Lyon for €20 million in 2020.

If Ferguson were to implement his successful model at Athletico, the club could ascend to a position of remarkable prominence on the global football stage.

However, Ferguson would encounter several formidable challenges if he embarked on this journey. Firstly, the Brazilian economy has faced substantial hardships in recent years, adversely affecting the football industry. Additionally, Athletico would face stiff competition from other financially robust Brazilian clubs such as Flamengo, Palmeiras, and Atlético Mineiro.

Moreover, Ferguson’s remote location in Manchester, England, presents a logistical challenge in managing a club based in Curitiba, Brazil.

Sir Alex Ferguson’s interest in Athletico signals his enduring ambition despite retirement from active management, evidencing his eagerness for fresh challenges. Furthermore, his investment underscores the growing appeal of Brazilian football, with Brazilian clubs increasingly attracting foreign investment and showcasing heightened competitiveness on the international stage.

If Ferguson’s venture with Athletico proves fruitful, it could inspire other affluent investors to explore opportunities within Brazilian football, potentially heralding a golden era for the sport in Brazil.

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