Both Manchester United and Liverpool are up for sale as their current owners look to cash-in on interest in Premier League clubs from investors, including from plenty of admirers in the Middle East.
Saudi Arabia’s sports minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Turki Al Faisal has confirmed the Saudi Arabian government would “definitely support” private sector bids for Premier League giants Manchester United and Liverpool.
The minister explained how there was a lot “interest and appetite” in the two clubs amid reports that both could be up for sale very soon. The current owners of both outfits are open to the idea of either external part investment or a full-scale sale over the past two weeks.
The Glazers confessed they are exploring the idea of outside investment which could in turn prompt an all-out bidding war for the Red Devils. As per Sky News, investment bankers have been requested to advise and oversee the process.
As for Liverpool, owners Fenway Sports Group are actively listening to offers for the club and The ECHO reports that FSG are aiming for an offer of $4bn while the Glazers are holding out for $7bn amid a huge surge in United’s share prices.
Mike Gordon has been tasked with finding new investment and overseeing a potential full takeover process at Liverpool, but as of yet FSG have not received any concrete offers for the Anfield-based outfit.
“From the private sector, I can’t speak on their behalf, but there is a lot of interest and appetite and there’s a lot of passion about football,” explained Al Faisal.
“It’s the most-watched league in Saudi and the region and you have a lot of fans of the Premier League. We will definitely support it if any [Saudi] private sector comes in, because we know that’s going to reflect positively on sports within the kingdom.
“But if there’s an investor willing to do so and the numbers add up, why not?”
There is of course, already Saudi ownership within the Premier League after the sale of Newcastle United to the Saudi Arabian Public Investment Fund at the tail-end of last year.
Any sale of United or Liverpool to a Saudi Private Sector company would spark fresh controversy and debate given the nation’s questionable human rights record and stance on the LGBTQ+ community.
With that being said, United’s fanbase saw their patience run out with the Glazers sometime ago and could be in a similar position to the majority of Newcastle supporters who were willing to welcome anyone who would spell the end of Mike Ashley’s reign.
While there is significant interest from the Saudi government, United are attracting a number of high-profile investors. Britain’s richest man, Sir Jim Ratcliffe, owner of petrochemicals giant Ineos, is a boyhood United fan and is reportedly planning on making a bid having commented several times on the prospect previously.
Founder of fashion brand Zara, Amancio Ortega, has also thrown his hat into the ring, while Apple CEO Tim Cook is also exploring the option of buying the club. Meanwhile, former United icon David Beckham is said to be open to talks of forming a consortium.