Saudi Arabian Sports Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Turki al-Faisal believes Newcastle United are ‘benefitting’ from the PIF-led takeover of the club - and sees no reason why a similar move for Manchester United could not take place from a private investor.
Just over a year has passed since a prolonged takeover bid finally reached a successful conclusion as the PIF-led consortium brought an end to Mike Ashley’s 13-year ownership at St James Park. The appointment of Eddie Howe proved to be the first key move made by the new owners and they have backed the Bournemouth manager with over £220m of signings.
Undoubted progress on the pitch has been matched behind the scenes with the Magpies hierarchy working hard to strengthen the club in every department after it was stripped back by the former owner. Sporting director Dan Ashworth and Chief Executive Officer Darren Eales are pushing forwards with ambitious plans to help establish the Magpies as one of the major powers in the Premier League and around Europe.
But there has been speculation a Saudi-based bid could be made for Manchester United after the Red Devils owners - the Glazer family - confirmed they were open to selling the club earlier this week. Premier League regulations would forbid the Public Investment Fund from buying into the Old Trafford club - but Abulaziz believes a private investor from Saudi Arabia could not be ruled out.
He told The Times: “PIF just invested in Newcastle and we are focusing on that. If there is a private investor that wants to come in, why not? I think it is a good opportunity and if the numbers add up and, if we can all benefit from that from a business perspective, why not? If there is an opportunity that benefits us I would encourage the private sector to do so.
“Newcastle, as a club, are benefiting from this purchase and I think Manchester United or any other club would look at these opportunities. We don’t have a bid as we speak, or that we have announced. In the future, if possibilities do open and there is a good opportunity to host such an event the benefits are big for Saudi and the region.”
The likes of Sir Jim Ratcliffe and Apple have also been linked with a bid for the 13-time Premier League champions.