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Last Updated: Friday, 9 February 2007, 19:46 GMT
Arsenal & MLS club agree link-up
Arsenal have formed a partnership with Colorado Rapids
Colorado Rapids are owned by American billionaire Stan Kroenke
Arsenal have announced a new business partnership with Major League Soccer club Colorado Rapids.

The deal is designed to build Arsenal's brand in the United States, while also helping to develop the MLS club.

"This is a very important step for Arsenal as this becomes our first venture into the US marketplace," said managing director Keith Edelman.

Colorado Rapids are owned by American billionaire Stan Kroenke's company Kroenke Sports Enterprises.

Unless I'm completely naive it's not a takeover

Arsene Wenger

Arsenal already have a similar tie-up with Belgian side Beveren as well as an academy in the Ivory Coast.

The arrangement between the two clubs includes the development of a Centre of Excellence in Colorado, the transfer of coaching ideas and the launch of the Arsenal Cup, a club tournament open to teams from all over the US.

The deal comes just days after Liverpool's takeover by American tycoons George Gillet and Tom Hicks, and represents an increasing trend of American businessmen linking up with English clubs.

Manchester United and Aston Villa are also owned by American business tycoons, but Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger said the deal was completely different to those takeovers.

"Unless I'm completely naive it's not a takeover," said Wenger.

"I've never heard about a possible takeover and I don't think that is at all behind our partnership.

"We develop a few partnerships sometimes with football schools and sometimes with clubs.

"We're trying to extend our brand and we're are also trying to extend our technical cooperation because the Americans might produce some players at some stage and that's why we're doing it.

"We're always trying to develop young players."

The Rapids will come to London to use Arsenal's facilities for six days while they continue training ahead of the MLS season which starts in April.

606 DEBATE: Give your reaction to this news

US pair agree Liverpool takeover
06 Feb 07 |  Liverpool


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