Premier League giants Manchester United have brushed aside the claims that the club is up for sale, denying the reports which suggested strong interest from Saudi Arabia Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud.
There were reports in a section of media in the Middle East that Salman’s plan formed part of the wider strategy to diversify Saudi Arabia’s future economy away from oil and compete with fellow Gulf States Qatar and the United Arab Emirates as world football powers.
Manchester City is owned by Abu Dhabi’s Sheikh Mansour under City Football Group (CFG).
Doha-based Oryx Qatar Sports Investments (QSI) owns French top division football club Paris Saint-Germain with its Chairman Nasser Al-Khelaifi as the president club since 2011. Qatar is also hosting the 2022 FIFA World Cup.
Media in the Middle East had reported that the Saudi Crown Prince Salman was willing for a deal worth £4 billion ($5.3 billion) to acquire the English club. Saudi Arabia’s ruling Salman family, reportedly with a net worth of £850 billion, is the richest family across the globe.
However, The Daily Mirror newspaper quoting club sources has said that the Glazer family, which owns Manchester United, have “maintained their stake is not for sale”.
The Mirror’s source also questioned the timing of the reports linking Prince Mohammad with a bid for Manchester United with Saudi Arabia currently engulfed in a diplomatic crisis following criticism of the Kingdom’s regime by US-based journalist Jamal Khashoggi, who has disappeared amidst rumours that he had been murdered.
Manchester United remains the highest valued Premier League club the world ever for its £800 million acquisition in 2005 by the USA’s Glazer Family. According to Forbes estimate, the club in 2017 was valued at $3.7 billion with its annual revenue crossing over $850 million.
It is highly unlikely that Manchester United owners would sell the club considering that its value has now crossed $4 billion with all time high revenue and profit figures. In August its valuation reached $4 billion mark as club shares soared to a record high at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE).
Recently, a report revealed that ManU tops the list among other European football giants in terms of sponsorship revenue. Generating €269 million-a-year ($308.7 million) from 68 commercial deals, the club has left behind Spanish champions Barcelona with annual income of €261 million ($291.5 million) – the only other club to generate more than €200 million (US$229.5 million).
Manchester United has signed the most expensive kit sponsorship deal (with Adidas) and sleeve sponsorship deal (with Kohler) till date.