Manchester United takeover?: Qatar reach for ‘football’s crown jewels’

Manchester United takeover?
Qatar reach for the ‘crown jewels of football’

Manchester United may no longer be the biggest number in world football in terms of sport. But the club’s reputation and nostalgia for past triumphs has US owners dreaming of billions. Investors from Qatar, where money is no object, are now hoping to break into the Premier League.

Anyone who had thought that Qatar could slowly withdraw from the football business after the World Cup, which was so successful for the Gulf state, was taught a lesson this week at the latest. As the “Daily Mail” reports, citing unnamed sources, the desert emirate now wants to get into the biggest player in world football, the English Premier League, and take over the traditional billionaire club Manchester United.

After years of sporting drought, the Red Devils are currently on the upswing under coach Erik ten Hag. With a game more, they are currently eight points behind leaders Arsenal, but a return to the Champions League may be imminent. That’s more than was hoped for at Old Trafford ahead of the season. But amid the escalating investment policies of clubs like Chelsea and Saudi Arabia’s investment in Newcastle United, much of the Red Devils depends on a new owner.

The current owners, the little beloved Glazer family from the USA, want to sell the club and are expecting offers for one of the most valuable clubs in the world by mid-February. Should no suitable offers come in, the Glazers could also make new investments in the club. However, Manchester United fans have been demanding a change of ownership for the traditional club, which has been without a trophy since 2017, for a long time.

As the “Daily Mail” now reports, “a group of private, very wealthy people” are said to be behind the possible investors from Qatar. Your offer for the “crown jewels of football”, which is intended to “overshadow” that of the competition, will be received in the next few days. In addition to the new interested parties from the emirate, billionaire Jim Ratcliffe, the richest man in the United Kingdom, has already expressed his interest in Manchester United with his company INEOS. The club’s net debt was around 580 million euros in September.

Qatar have long been interested in entering the Premier League

The Glazer family is hoping for more than 6.5 billion euros from the sale. In addition to the costs of the takeover, a possible new owner can expect further billions in costs as part of the renovation of the aging Red Devils stadium.

With Paris Saint-Germain, a European super club is already in the hands of Qatar, more precisely Qatar Sports Investments. Due to the existing UEFA regulations that an owner cannot own two clubs in one competition, it can therefore be assumed that a possible offer will not be made by Qatar Sports Investment, but by the group of “private, very wealthy persons” described above becomes.

Already during the World Cup there were several rumors in Qatar that the emirate wanted to enter the Premier League. The club of coach Jürgen Klopp, Liverpool FC, should also play a role. At the beginning of January, English-language media reported on Qatar Sports Investment’s possible minority stakes in United, Liverpool or Tottenham Hotspur.

The model for Qatar should be the cross-club ownership model of the United Arab Emirates: The City Football Group owns shares in Manchester City, FC Girona, New York City FC, Melbourne City FC, Yokohama F. Marinos and Mumbai City FC, among others. Even if the flagship of the City Football Group, the Guardiola club Manchester City, is currently in an acute crisis situation.

City have to answer for alleged breaches of Premier League financial rules. Manchester United’s city rivals have been owned by the Abu Dhabi United Group since 2008 and have won six league titles, two FA Cups and six League Cups under new ownership. Success comes at a cost: Since the takeover, the loss in player transfers has been around 1.5 billion euros. Anything is conceivable as a punishment, from financial sanctions to league exclusion.

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