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The New Arab

Saudi crown prince launches audacious '£3.8 billion takeover bid' of Manchester United

Mohammed bin Salman was previously rumoured to be buying Manchester United last year. [Getty]

Date of publication: 17 February, 2019

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Mohammed bin Salman was rumoured to be attempting to buy Manchester United last year but the deal stalled after the crown prince was linked to the murder of Jamal Khashoggi.

Controversial Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has launched an audacious £3.8 billion takeover bid of Manchester United in the hopes of becoming the new owner of the English football club by next season.

United officials have been spending an increasing amount of time in Saudi Arabia and the eye-watering bid could tempt current owners the Glazer family to sell, according to The Sun.

The American family bought the club for £790 million nearly 14 years ago and stand to make a $2.2 billion profit if they accept the Saudi offer.

Mohammed bin Salman was previously rumoured to be buying Manchester United last year but the deal stalled after the crown prince was linked to the brutal murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, The Sun reported.

Avram Glazer was one of several dozen high-profile business leaders to boycott an economic forum in Saudi Arabia last October - dubbed 'Davos in the Desert' - following international outrage over the Saudi-admitted killing of Khashoggi.

Sources close to the Glazer family have claimed that they are against selling the football club.

Bin Salman's takeover bid of Manchester United is said to be part of the young prince's desire to compete with Manchester City, who are owned by Sheikh Mansour of the Abu Dhabi royal family.

The jaw-dropping offer reflects the importance of sport as an arena where rivalries play out in the bid for economic and political supremacy in the Gulf.

So far one of Riyadh's biggest sporting plays has been to ban Qatar's beIN Sports from broadcasting in the country following a Saudi-led blockade on the Gulf state in June 2017.

BeIN has alleged that since August 2017 a vast and sophisticated Saudi bootlegging network known as "beoutQ" had been transmitting its stolen programmes via Riyadh-based satellite provider Arabsat.

The Doha-based broadcaster launched a compensation claim worth $1 billion against the Saudi piracy channel, while Qatar filed an action at the World Trade Organisation.

Qatar's successful bid to host the 2022 World Cup has been a cause of bitter envy among Gulf rivals, with many suspecting the Saudi-blockade was in part designed to disrupt preparations for the prestigious global tournament.

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