On the heels of a new stadium announcement Thursday, could an MLS owner be set to make a big splash in Serie A?
According to reports on Thursday, D.C. United co-owner Erick Thohir has been in talks with Inter Milan president Massimo Moratti about a takeover of the Italian club, which would give him a 75 percent ownership stake in the team. The reported price of the takeover is $463 million.
The rumors surrounding such a move have circulated in Italian soccer for weeks. At the beginning of the month, reports out of Italy claimed Thohir was in talks to become a minority investor in the team, starting from a 40 percent stake that would increase over time. Moratti has denied the specifics of each of the reported plans, although the ongoing talks between the parties indicate there is mutual interest in completing some sort of deal to give Thohir an ownership stake.
Although Inter won a treble in 2009-10 with the Serie A title, the Coppa Italia, and the Champions League, they have struggled since, as frequent coaching changes and poor investment in players led to a disappointing ninth-place showing last season in Serie A. In addition to stability in the coaching situation, Inter will more than likely need to invest wisely in the roster in order to be back among the top clubs in the division, and indeed Europe, once more.
Thohir is an Indonesian businessman who has been co-owner of D.C. United since 2012, as he and Jason Levien became partners with Will Chang. On Thursday, the team announced plans for a new soccer-specific stadium for United in Washington, D.C., estimated to be ready in time for the 2016 MLS season.
Additionally, rumors have also circulated that if Thohir's plan to buy a stake in Inter does go through, D.C. could possibly expect to see loanees from Inter playing in MLS in the coming seasons.
D.C. United did not comment on the report when contacted on Thursday by MLSsoccer.com.