Liverpool owners Fenway Sports Group are reportedly holding talks with Middle Eastern suitors over a potential £3billion takeover. Consortiums from Qatar and Saudi Arabia have come forward as candidates to buy the Reds after FSG put them up for sale earlier this month.
FSG have welcomed interest as they look to cash in on the club they purchased for £300m off Tom Hicks and George Gillett in October 2010. The Americans have helped Liverpool end a 30-year wait for a league title and clinch a sixth Champions League crown, but are now ready to leave Anfield.
And according to the Mail, discussions are underway with representatives of Saudi and Qatari groups who have expressed an interest in completing a takeover. Consortium officials are said to have registered their intention to complete a deal with FSG director Mike Gordon, overseeing Liverpool’s sale.
Despite inevitable concerns about one of England’s most historic clubs becoming state-owned, the two interested parties are private companies rather than being funded by their respective states. However, both are rumoured to have close ties with their country’s current ruling regimes.
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Saudi Arabia’s interest shouldn’t come as much of a surprise after the nation’s Sports Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Turki Al Faisal encouraged bids for both Liverpool and Manchester United. The Glazers have joined FSG in looking to jump ship in the coming months, putting United up for sale after their 17-year-old tenure at the Old Trafford helm.
Prince Abdulaziz told Sky Sports: “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. 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.”
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United’s sudden availability on the market could worry Liverpool, despite the clubs’ contrasting fortunes in recent seasons. The report adds that the Red Devils are confident they would be able to steal any potential buyers from their bitter rivals. Those close to the situation claim Old Trafford is a more appealing option than Anfield due to United’s monumental global reach.
If FSG sell Liverpool to Middle Eastern buyers, the Reds will join Newcastle United (Saudi Arabia) and Manchester City (Abu Dhabi) in the Premier League. But the process isn’t considered close to completion and could ultimately go down to a high-profile bidding war in 2023.
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