Bold claim suggests Newcastle United could be sold by PIF to purchase rival Premier League club
A report in The Athletic has claimed that Newcastle United's owners, Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund could be tempted to purchase Manchester United, who have recently been put up for sale.
PIF have previously been in talks with purchasing a stake in Manchester United before opting to buy Newcastle for £305million last October. PIF governor and Newcastle chairman Yasir Al-Rumayyan said: “There was a team that approached us on the basis that we take 30% of the ownership, and we don’t interfere at all in terms of managing the club, for £700million.
“Then we bought Newcastle, who offered us 100% of the ownership. But Amanda Staveley and her husband (Mehrdad Ghodoussi), who got us the opportunity, told us ‘we like it so much, we would like to be with you’. That was perfect.”
But Simon Chadwick, professor of sport and geopolitical economy at SKEMA Business School, told The Athletic that the purchase of Newcastle was an ‘opportunistic’ one and that PIF could be lured by the availability of Manchester United.
As two Premier League clubs aren’t allowed to be owned by the same individual or company, that would mean selling Newcastle in order to purchase Manchester United.
“Newcastle United has always seemed like an opportunistic purchase and I think in essence the deal for Newcastle was sold heavily to them by intermediaries,” Chadwick said.
“You had a willing seller and the amount of money they paid is small change.
“The opportunistic purchase of Newcastle, I think, was a consequence of being kicked back by Manchester United in the first place.
“There probably will be a certain amount of disbelief amongst Saudi officials having bought Newcastle when they really wanted to buy Manchester United. They are now in a position where they could potentially buy Manchester United.
“I might be going out on a bit of a limb here, but it is not entirely inconceivable that they could dispose of Newcastle (United) and buy Manchester United.”