Chelsea owner Todd Boehly held talks about purchasing a Portuguese club in the summer


REVEALED: Chelsea owner Todd Boehly held talks with super-agent Jorge Mendes over buying a Portuguese team in the summer, with the American keen to follow Manchester City and the Red Bull football group’s multi-club model

Chelsea have held talks over purchasing a Portuguese team as part of the owners’ plan to implement a multi-club model followed by the Red Bull football group and Manchester City.

Co-controlling owner Todd Boehly is understood to have held initial discussions with the club’s academy manager Neil Bath and high-profile agent Jorge Mendes, who is Portuguese, earlier this summer.

During the talks it is believed the concept of purchasing a Portuguese club was discussed.

Todd Boehly held initial discussions over Chelsea purchasing a Portuguese club in the summer

Such a move would enable the Stamford Bridge club to send their most promising young talent out to secure valuable first-team football but continue under the Chelsea umbrella.

Bath is understood to have been working on identifying which club would be most suitable for the club to recruit as a sister team.

Mendes’ connections in Portugal would make the intermediary a suitable conduit to facilitate a deal should Chelsea decide to make a formal approach a club.

The American met with super agent Jorge Mendes (pictured) to discuss initial plans over following the lead of Red Bull and the City Football Group in having a network of clubs

The American met with super agent Jorge Mendes (pictured) to discuss initial plans over following the lead of Red Bull and the City Football Group in having a network of clubs

Boehly believes Portugal represents a good opportunity to extend Chelsea’s global footprint given its position as one of the best outside Europe’s recognised top five divisions.

Portugal consistently produces young footballers who go on to have excellent careers elsewhere in Europe.

Speaking earlier this week, Boehly confirmed his plan to expand Chelsea’s portfolio of teams to enable a pathway to senior football for Chelsea’s young players who aren’t quite ready for the Blues first team.

Chelsea’s incoming sporting director would be heavily involved in the club’s foreign expansion,.

Neil Bath (c), the club's academy manager, has met with Boehly to discuss the ambitious plans

Neil Bath (c), the club’s academy manager, has met with Boehly to discuss the ambitious plans

Indeed, Red Bull Salzburg’s Christoph Freund, who has played a key role in the Red Bull football group’s enterprise, is one of the leading candidates for the position.

Freud’s expertise in the multi-club system Boehly is keen to implement is an obvious attraction to Chelsea’s owners.

Chelsea have shared close links with Dutch club Vitesse Arnhem, where Mason Mount and Armando Broja spent a season on loan.

Boehly said this week: ‘We’ve talked about having a multi-club model. I would love to continue to build out the footprint.

New York City FC is one of a number of clubs owned under the City Football Group umbrella

New York City FC is one of a number of clubs owned under the City Football Group umbrella

‘There’s different countries where there are advantages to having a club. Red Bull does a really good job at Leipzig and they’ve got Salzburg, both of which are playing in the Champions League so they’ve figured out how to make that work. You have Man City which has a very big network of clubs.

‘The challenge Chelsea has, when you have 18, 19, 20-year-old stars, you can loan them out to clubs but you hand their development to someone else.

‘Our goal is to ensure we show pathways for our young stars to get on to the Chelsea pitch while getting them real game time. The way to do that is through another club in a really competitive league in Europe.’