Premier League title winner with Chelsea, Florent Malouda, is among the stars produced by an academy Sheffield United now have access to.
Yorkshire Live reports that Blades owner Prince Abdullah has completed his takeover of Ligue 2 club Chateauroux.
They are the fifth club to be acquired by his United World Group. The others are Beerschot in Belgium, Al-Hilal United in UAE and Kerala United in India.
The Blades sit at the top of the pile, with the rest of those in the group acting as their feeder clubs.
It’s seen as a way to help the South Yorkshire side branch into a worldwide market. The clubs share best practices and ideas, as well as commercial ventures.
It also means United can use their network to develop talent. It’s already being seen at Beerschot, where Ismaila Coulibaly and George Broadbent are currently on loan.
Coulibaly was signed from Sarpsborg in Norway last summer, before being immediately loaned to the Belgian club. Broadbent – a product of the Blades academy – made the same move in January.
These links in Belgium also helped United sign Sander Berge from Genk in January 2020.
Former Chelsea ace Malouda one of many from this academy
Chateauroux are the latest acquisition made by the group, giving them an avenue into France.
In a statement, United World Group CEO Abdullah Al-Ghamdi said: “United World’s decision to invest in France is not a difficult one given the level of development the game has reached over there.
“More importantly, France has cemented its reputation as being one of the biggest, if not the biggest, ‘factory of football talents’ worldwide.”
Chateauroux may be struggling at the bottom of Ligue 2 currently, but they have one of the oldest academies in France. It’s said to be rated among the country’s best.
Its list of recent graduates is certainly quite impressive. Malouda is the standout, but Crystal Palace striker Jean-Philippe Mateta – on loan from Mainz – also came through their ranks.
As did former Palace and Wolverhampton Wanderers man Bakary Sako, ex-Reading winger Jimmy Kebe and former Sunderland defender Lamine Kone.
Villarreal youngster Haissem Hassan is another recent graduate making a name for himself.
Now the Blades will be able to keep a close eye on the academy and potentially bring some of the best to Bramall Lane.