Between 2016 and 2017, SL Benfica studied the possibility of buying Almería, from the Spanish second division, and Charlton, from the English third tier. Both businesses would eventually fail.
Documents to which the German magazine Der Spiegel had access, and which he shared with Expresso and the other partners of the EIC – European Investigative Collaborations consortium, reveal Benfica’s interest in growing abroad.
In early 2017, Benfica even signed a confidentiality agreement how Charlton Athletic for the potential purchase of the club. Negotiations started a few months earlier with the hand of the Portuguese businessman Jorge Mendes, who served as an intermediary. It was afterwards Domingos Soares de Oliveira who started conversations with then executive president of the English club, Katrien Meire.
The agreement with Charlton allowed SAD ‘incarnate’ to access a set of reserved access information on Addicks, its assets and projections of future revenues.
The then owner of Charlton, the Belgian businessman Roland Duchatelet, was open to the sale of the club, its training ground and even the stadium, with a capacity for 27,000 fans.
What caused the agreement to fall were the London club tragic accounts, which ended 2016 with a loss of £ 13.1 million.
With the chance of investing in Charlton having ended, Benfica looked for an alternative closer to home: the Almeria. At the end of 2016, Luís Filipe Vieira and Domingos Soares de Oliveira analyzed the possibility of buying the Spanish club.
The club had just been relegated to the second division and the owners, Easur Agricola Siglo XXI, were interested in selling. The company wanted 29 million euros for 94% of his participation in the Andalusian club, currently trained by José Gomes.
Despite negotiations, the agreement did not progress. In the summer of 2019, Almería was purchased by Saudi Turki Al-Sheikh.
According to information collected by Expresso, “the topic was not consensual at the club’s summit, since could be poorly received by supporters the chance that Benfica will bet on other football clubs instead of investing in their own team ”.
Daniel Costa, ZAP //