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 By Ian Holyman

Marseille can become French, European champions - owner McCourt

Frank McCourt completed his takeover of Marseille on Monday.

New Marseille owner Frank McCourt has vowed to invest €200 million as part of a project to make Marseille future French and European champions.

OM, the only French club to have won the Champions League, have finished outside the top three in Ligue 1 in four of the last five seasons, while their 13th-placed finish last term marked their worst top-flight campaign since 2000-01.

McCourt completed the estimated €45m purchase of a controlling stake in the French club on Monday, and the former Los Angeles Dodgers owner immediately outlined bold plans to resurrect one of France's most popular sides.

"I pledge to invest €200m over four years, which is more than has been put in in the last 20 years. The goal is to win the league," the American businessman told L'Equipe.

"My number one goal is to win Ligue 1; the second is to win the title more often than we don't; and the third is to win the Champions League. We have to manage to do that in that order."

To achieve his aims, McCourt stated he hopes to improve the club's failing youth academy, saying "we're ranked 22nd, which is totally unacceptable," while he will also bring in established stars to get him closer to his goal.

"I want to win," he said. "I did that before. If we have the right star, that helps. If we have the wrong one, it doesn't help. We need to build a winning project and so we need good players. When you win, everyone is a star."

While confirming he will retain Basile Boli, who scored the goal that defeated AC Milan in the 1993 Champions League final, as the club's sporting coordinator, McCourt added he will introduce his eldest son, Drew, and advisor Barry Cohen into the OM structure as well as relying on newly-installed president Jacques-Henri Eyraud.

"I'm certain I'll have some surprises, but you always learn in difficult times," McCourt said. "I grew up in Boston, and for me, the similarities with Marseille are striking. Like the Red Sox against the Yankees, OM will be an 'outsider,' who'll win with the heart. That has to be part of the club's DNA.

"We won't spend more money than Barcelona or Madrid, so how are we going to win? With passion, and the fans will be crucial."

Ian is ESPN's French football correspondent. Twitter: @ian_holyman

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