Saudi Arabia’s sports minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Turki Al Faisal has confirmed there “is a lot of interest” in Man Utd and Liverpool from within the country.
The Glazers shocked everyone on Tuesday evening by announcing they were prepared to listen to offers for the club, just hours after Cristiano Ronaldo left Old Trafford by mutual termination.
Man Utd supporters rejoiced over the news with the Old Trafford faithful protesting for years about the Glazers’ ownership of the club with their recent attempts to become part of a European Super League the final straw for fans.
They have been unhappy about the lack of investment from the owners’ own pocket with the club’s facilities and stadium in need of major upgrades.
There have been many rumours about who could be in the frame to buy Man Utd and now Prince Abdulaziz has insisted that there is no shortage of interest from Saudi Arabia in the Red Devils and arch-rivals Liverpool, who are also up for sale.
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 any [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?”
Newcastle were taken over in October 2021 by a consortium backed by the Saudi Public Investment Fund with the Magpies spending over £200m on players since.
Prince Abdulaziz added: “They’ve done an excellent job.
“They still have a long way to go – they’ve brought the right people on board.
“I’m sure they have targets 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.”
In another interview with The Times, Prince Abdulaziz continued: “The PIF just invested in Newcastle and I think we are focusing as a PIF 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 we can all benefit from that from a business perspective, why not. If there really is an opportunity that benefits us I would encourage the private sector to do so.
“Newcastle as a club is benefiting from this purchase and I think Manchester United or any other club would look at these opportunities.”
There have been rumours that former Man Utd striker Ronaldo has been the subject of offers from Saudi Arabia before and Prince Abdulaziz hopes the Portugal international can play in the Gulf state one day.
“Who wouldn’t want Ronaldo to come and play in their league?” Prince Abdulaziz said.
“He is a role model for a lot of the youth. If that does happen I think we can work together to develop football in the kingdom with such an iconic star.”
On potentially launching a joint bid with Egypt for the 2030 World Cup, Prince Abdulaziz told The Times: “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.
“We have seen that by Qatar hosting the World Cup in our region, so definitely the future is bright for Saudi and hopefully we can showcase that we can host such an event in the future.
“At the moment we are focusing on bids for the 2027 Asia Cup and the 2026 Asia Women’s Cup.”
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