Before there was any mention of the Bin Zayed Group towards the end of May, there was a little known group called Orlegi Sports who were linked to a takeover of Newcastle.
Reports initially surfaced in the Chronicle in early May that the Mexican-based group was interested in purchasing a Premier League team. They had just bought a controlling stake in Liga MX side FC Atlas earlier in the year and were looking to expand their operations to Europe.
The Chronicle did a report on May 7th linking the group’s interest in Europe specifically to Newcastle United. It was widely rubbished at the time, but a follow-up report was done on May 22nd adding an air of legitimacy to the initial reporting.
This is what the president of Orlegi Sports, Alejandro Irarragorri, said at the time:
“For us we have seen opportunities in Mexico, we have seen opportunities in the United States, and we have seen opportunities in Europe, and right now we are evaluating which are the best opportunities to generate value.
“There are many things, if I told you about the seven options we have at the table – they are all very interesting, and we are evaluating them.”
Nothing substantial was reported again on the group. It was only a few days later, a report in the Sun would lead to the summer of BZG and the rest, as they say, is history.
— Justin Allen (@justinallen1976) May 26, 2019
The Chronicle have followed up with some comments that Alejandro Irarragorri made to ESPN recently:
“We were completely looking towards Europe. Last year, we were very close to achieving a purchase in the Premier League.
“Our group was not of sufficient size to proceed with that purchase. We ended the contract with Azteca, and at that time, I went to eat with Ricardo Salinas to thank him. In that, he offers me to sell myself to the Atlas and then we understood this as a great opportunity.”
It looks like the original Orlegi Sports link had some legitimacy to it. However, it appears that they did not have sufficient resources to complete a deal.