Manchester United and Liverpool for sale: Saudi Arabia would ‘definitely support’ private sector bids – sports minister

Old Trafford
Manchester United’s owners are “exploring strategic opportunities” for the club, which could include selling it

Saudi Arabia’s sports minister says his government would “definitely support” private sector Saudi bids for Manchester United and Liverpool.

The owners of both Premier League clubs are exploring potential sales.

Newcastle United already has Saudi Arabian owners after a takeover backed by the Saudi Public Investment Fund was completed in October 2021.

Prince Abdulaziz bin Turki Al Faisal said there was a lot of “interest and appetite” in United and Liverpool.

He told BBC Sport: “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.

“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 anything [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?”

A little more than 12 months since their takeover, Newcastle are third in the Premier League table and unbeaten in all competitions since August 31.

The Magpies have spent more than £200m on players since the takeover, breaking their transfer record to sign Swedish striker Alexander Isak in the summer.

“They’ve done an excellent job,” added Prince Abdulaziz.

“They still have a long way to go – they’ve brought the right people on board.

“I’m sure they have goals to win the league and the Champions League and so on because they strive for the best and always bring the best on board, so I think it’s going to be a bright future for Newcastle.”

Ronaldo to Saudi Arabia?

Prince Abdulaziz also said he would “love” to see Cristiano Ronaldo join a Saudi club following his departure from Manchester United.

The Portugal forward left the Old Trafford club with immediate effect on Tuesday following a controversial interview in which the 37-year-old criticized United and said he had “no respect” for manager Erik ten Hag.

In the interview with TalkTV, Ronaldo also said he turned down a £305m deal to join a Saudi Arabian club in the summer – a move that would have seen him become the highest-paid footballer in the world.

Spanish newspaper Marca reported that Al-Hilal had offered him a two-year deal.

“Anything is possible, I would love to see Ronaldo play in the Saudi league,” said Prince Abdulaziz.

“It would benefit the league, the sports eco-system in Saudi and it will inspire the youth for the future. He’s a role model to a lot of kids and has a big fanbase in Saudi.”

More to follow.

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