LONDON (Reuters) - Runaway Premier League leaders Manchester City already boast an enviable cast of match-winners in the likes of Kevin De Bruyne, Sergio Aguero, David Silva and Gabriel Jesus. Now teenager Marcus Jorgensen can be added to the list.
The Dane will not be gracing the Etihad pitch though and will probably spend his Manchester City career sat on his backside -- with a PlayStation 4 controller in his hands.
City’s latest transfer coup is one of the world’s leading FIFA esports players and will make his ‘debut’ in Barcelona in January at the FUT Champions Cup.
He becomes City’s second professional esports player and will join Kieran ‘Kez’ Brown in tournaments around the world.
“I‘m so delighted to finally announce that I‘m joining @ManCity! I‘m so blessed for this unreal opportunity I’ve been given!” the 18-year-old posted on his Twitter page.
Jorgensen, known in the gaming world as ‘ExpectSporting’, says his style is “direct” so it might not sit too well with City manger Pep Guardiola’s passing philosophy.
Yet his slick fingers have helped him forge a name for himself in the rapidly expanding esports world.
This year, playing for Brondby, he became the inaugural champion at the FIFA Interactive Club World Cup. He also reached the FIFA Interactive World Cup Grand Final in London.
“I‘m very proud and honoured to represent Manchester City and I can’t wait to start,” said Jorgensen, whose favourite City player to use on EASPORTS FIFA 18 is De Bruyne.
“I‘m extremely happy to be stepping into the next chapter of my esports career with Manchester City. 2017 represented such a successful season for me and I have the drive and ambition to take my game to the next level.”
While traditionalists may scoff, football clubs are increasingly looking at esports to help them expand their brands to new, younger markets, with Paris St Germain, AS Roma, Schalke 04 and VfL Wolfsburg all having their own Esports departments.
NBA franchises Miami Heat and Philadelphia 76ers have also invested heavily in esports.
Nuria Tarre, chief marketing officer for City Football Group commented: ”We’re really excited to be signing Marcus to represent Manchester City in tournaments and fan events around the world.
“The growth in esports over the past 18 months has been significant and our increasing presence in this field has provided another exciting platform for us to engage with City fans, both here in the UK and further afield.”
A recent report from digital research firm Superdata put the value of the worldwide esports market at $1.5 billion and expects that to rise to $2.3 billion by 2022.
Reporting by Martyn Herman; Editing by Toby Davis