Football - Palermo
New outlook: Top officials of Palermo and City Football Group line up for a photo-op after the Italian club became a part of the City stables on Monday. Image Credit: Twitter/Palermo

Milan: Palermo are gunning for a return to Serie A after being taken over on Monday by the City Football Group, the 12th club to become part of a global network of teams led by Manchester City.

The Sicilian club, which was promoted to second-tier Serie B via the play-offs last season, announced that CFG had acquired a “majority stake” without specifying any further details.

The deal struck is reportedly for 80 percent of Palermo, with the remaining portion staying with previous owner Dario Mirri who will continue as chairman after guiding a previously troubled club to two promotions after taking over in 2019.

Palermo’s inclusion within the CFG network was presented on Monday morning in the Sicilian capital, with Mirri and CFG CEO Ferran Soriano saying their objective was to be the island’s representative in Italy’s top flight.

“Our idea is to create a team which is first of all stable in Serie B and can then aim for promotion,” Soriano told reporters.

Soriano added that CFG had not decided on any plans regarding moving from or redeveloping Palermo’s Renzo Barbera stadium, which is owned by the city.

“The important thing is that the stadium is full, our job is to convince the city to come to the ground for matches... that is our first priority,” he said.

Mirri confirmed meanwhile that Palermo would be continuing with their plans for a new training complex in the town of Torretta, in the mountains which overlook Palermo.

“If we don’t have a place where everyone can be together, from the first team to the youth teams we won’t be able to work properly,” said Mirri, a Palermo native and life-long supporter.

Palermo will keep coach Silvio Baldini and sporting director Renzo Castagnini, with Soriano and CFG board member Alberto Galassi saying that they would be prioritising stability within a club which has been outside Serie A since 2017 and was for a long time an extremely volatile environment.

Mirri became chairman in 2019 after being awarded control of a phoenix club which had to start from amateur league Serie D, following Palermo’s exclusion from professional football for financial irregularities while still in Serie B.

Baldini had briefly worked at Palermo under Maurizio Zamparani, the notorious “manager eater” who fired dozens of coaches during his 18 years as owner and sacked Baldini in January 2004 after half a season in charge.

CFG are majority-owned by Newton Investment and Development, and as well as owning Premier League champions Manchester City have La Liga outfit Girona and Ligue 1 team Troyes under their umbrella in Europe.

The group also runs Major League Soccer team New York City, Australia’s Melbourne City and Mumbai City in the Indian Super League.