Exclusive: Joe DaGrosa reveals all on his Newcastle United takeover bid, talks with Mike Ashley and ambitious future plans
Joe DaGrosa has revealed he was far closer to buying Newcastle United than many believed - and says what he learned from Mike Ashley will help him snap up a rival club.
The Miami-based businessman was in talks with Ashley late last year and retains an interest in purchasing a Premier League club in the near future.
While his bid for Newcastle was a standalone transaction, DaGrosa has now established plans for a multi-club platform – and is actively looking to purchase an ‘anchor club’ in the Premier League.
But while his interest in Newcastle was perhaps not taken seriously as other previous bids, the 55-year-old insists that talks reached an advanced stage.
“We were actually a bit further along than most people realised,” he said, speaking to the Gazette.“We spent a lot of our resources, internally as well as externally – we had hired KPMG to work with us – and we did a lot of homework on the team and on the league.
“That information is obviously helpful to us as we look at other clubs.”
DaGrosa held extended talks with Ashley as he looked to broker a deal – and offered a complimentary verdict on how the Sports Direct tycoon came across in negotiations.
“I’ve got to be honest with you, Mike Ashley and his right-hand guy were very straightforward.
“I always knew their position. They took some hard positions, but I appreciated negotiating with them because they didn’t play any games.
“That’s the biggest frustration when people are talking out of both sides of their mouths – but I never experienced that with Mike Ashley and his team.”
While his interest in Newcastle has now cooled – with a Saudi Arabian-backed bid currently at an advanced stage – DaGrosa believes the Magpies are the perfect mould of club for his new project.
“Newcastle is a fantastic club,” he added.
“The Saudis are looking to buy it now, and that looks like it’s pretty close to getting over the goal-line.
“Newcastle is the profile of club that we’d like to buy. There are a few others out there that are in our sights, but that’s exactly the type of club that we’re looking for.
“We’re not looking at a big six club at this point, purely from a cost point of view, but there’s a few others out there that look very interesting.”
The current state of play in English football presents an opportunity to DaGrosa and his group of backers and advisors, which includes former American international Landon Donavon.
As financial pressures mount on clubs and businesses, footballing interests could be sacrificed – presenting an opportunity for the American group.
“There are owners of clubs that have other business interests, and it’s all about allocating capital,” added DaGrosa.
“I’m sure lots of owners will be asking themselves where they should allocate their capital, and for a lot of them their football club is not their core business. They’ve made their money elsewhere and bought into football as an ancillary, exciting part of their business portfolio. Now, when put to the test on where to allocate capital, they may be forced to put it in their core business.
“You also have lenders who now find themselves de facto owners of clubs that are ill-equipped to run them, so they’re scrambling around trying to figure out what to do.
“I think that creates an opportunity to provide liquidity to the football market, and from our vantage point it’s an opportunity to buy clubs at a discount – and there’s probably an even bigger opportunity to get some great players out there at discounts to what they would otherwise cost in the transfer market.”
Da Grosa is hopeful of completing a deal to purchase a top flight club by October, before expanding his interests across the globe and purchasing a number of ‘satellite clubs’ – in a similar model to that employed by Manchester City.
His new group – The Kapital Football Group – see an opportunity to create a group to rival that of City, but at a much lower cost.
“There’s a really big opportunity to build a platform similar to City Football Group, in a much shorter period of time and at a much lower cost.
“That’s not a knock on the City Football Group at all – they did a very good job playing the cards they were dealt – but the effect of COVID-19 has brought about possibilities that just didn’t exist for City Football Group when they were building their platforms.
“We think it’s a very good model, they’ve done a good job on executing the model, but we’re in a time where we think that can be done in a fraction of the time and at a fraction of the cost.”
“We’d like to have our first club over the line in September or October,” he continued.
“A lot of it has to do with the timing of the summer transfer window, because it’s tough to buy a club in the middle of that.
“I think we’ll have phase one complete easily within 12 months – that’s the anchor club, a satellite club and three academies.
“Then phase two of the platform – which is another four satellite clubs and another six academies – will be the second 12 months.”