N'Golo Kante completes takeover of third-tier Belgian club

France midfielder N'Golo Kante has purchased third-tier Belgian side Royal Excelsior Virton, the club announced on Thursday.

The club announced existing owner Flavio Becca's decision to sell the club to Kante, who has just completed a lucrative transfer to Saudi Arabian club Al Ittihad, and confirmed that the former Chelsea midfielder would take control on July 1.

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The statement said: "Flavio is obviously extremely happy to hand over the keys of the club to N'Golo Kante, a high-class player, not only for his footballing qualities but also and above all for his widely recognised human qualities.

"Driven by his passion for football, N'Golo Kante wants to continue to structure the club in order to consolidate its foundations, stabilise its staff and eventually reconnect with the tradition of training RE Virton's Youth Academy.

"The club aims to establish its local roots in order to become a driving force of football in Gaume and in the province of Luxembourg."

Virton suffered relegation from the second division -- Challenger Pro League -- last season and will play in the third tier of Belgian football in 2023-24.

Kante's acquisition of Virton comes in the same week as Crystal Palace forward Wilfried Zaha, and rapper Stormzy's, purchased ninth-tier English football side, Croydon Athletic.

Former Palace head of player care Danny Young has joined the duo in buying a stake in the south London club.