Manchester United owner Avram Glazer has held talks with potential investors from Saudi Arabia and Qatar in Doha, according to reports. The Red Devils are currently on the market, with their wealthy American predecessors poised to sell them after 17 years of controversial rule. But who will actually end up taking over the club remains to be seen, with no clear leading candidate at this point.
It became clear at the end of last month that the Glazers would be interested in selling United, as the Americans have long been polarizing figures at Old Trafford. And according to The Athletic, the Glazers have been in talks with investors from Qatar and Saudi Arabia as they look to get the club off their books.
The Rennes group, who act as United’s financial advisors, aim to complete a full sale of the club by the end of the first quarter of 2023. It won’t come cheap for interested interested players, with the Glazers looking for fees in the region of £6bn and £7bn to let the Devils go. The Reds leave.
The publication says the nature of the talks between Glazer and the Saudi and Qatari investors is currently unclear.
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The Glazer are currently at the World Cup in Qatar and, when asked for a status update, recently said: “It’s not necessarily a sale, it’s a process and we’re moving forward with that process, so we’ll see what happens.
“This is modernization, it’s the process and the process is ongoing.”
United have reportedly held talks with Saudi Arabia about investing in the past as well, as have investment funds in Dubai.
This development comes after the Saudi Minister of Sports, Prince Abdulaziz bin Turki, spoke about the possibility of taking over United or Liverpool.
In November, Turki said: “I hope so [that they’d be interested in the two clubs]If there are investors and the numbers are in aggregate, it makes for a good business.
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Then the private sector can come, or companies can come from the kingdom. The Premier League is the best league in the world. Everyone watches the English Premier League.
“It is the most watched league and there are strong fans for these teams in the Kingdom. So it will be beneficial for everyone.”
In addition to Qatar and Saudi Arabia, there are several other contenders when it comes to being the next owners in United. The Red Devils have interest from Sir Jim Ratcliffe, as the British billionaire previously failed in his bid to buy Chelsea earlier this year.
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There has been talk of Amazon possibly joining the bid as well, though Apple has distanced itself from the speculation. A consortium led by Stephen Pagliuca, and another group headed by Sir Martin Broughton, could participate in the race as well.
Meanwhile, another problem United’s next owners will have to tackle is the club’s mounting debt – believed to be worth close to £1bn. But former Leeds and Middlesbrough star Noel Whelan, speaking to Football Insider, doesn’t think it will discourage potential suitors from buying United.
“This is a club that has always been a giant in terms of popularity and magnificence on a global scale,” he said.
“Not only do they have success off the pitch, but it’s also a team with a history of winning trophies and titles. There are probably four or five clubs that probably have that kind of debt because they don’t have owners who can provide enough support.
“Man United has always been one of those teams. I can’t remember a time in my life when they were in the green. I don’t think the new owner would ever be worried about that. Shirt sales, merchandise, a fan base – that doesn’t disappear overnight.
“It’s just the way these big clubs are run – like your Real Madrid, your Barcelona.”
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