Does anyone else sense a whiff of change in the air? Ever since the Glazer family mysteriously cleared £220m worth of high interest debt recently, questions have been asked by Manchester United fans as to where such a huge amount of money was obtained from. We may now have a clue with The Mail On Sunday’s Nick Harris suggesting that the Glazers could be on the verge of selling the club to the wealthy sheiks in Qatar!
It all makes sense as I have often asked myself why the Qataris have never shown any interest – publicly at least, in having the prestige of owning one of the world’s biggest football institutions. A seemingly bottomless pit of petro dollars have enabled the tiny nation to win the rights of hosting the 2022 World Cup and are prepared to spend billions upon billions to do so. It makes the one or two billion required to convince the Glazers to sell the club look no more than small change.
Harris writes that “Qatar’s £125million five-year sponsorship deal with Barcelona suggests the sheiks may have changed tactics over their football investments. It adds credence to the rumours that the tiny emirate’s rulers, who have landed the right to stage the 2022 World Cup, may have assisted the Glazer family in clearing their £220m of ‘ticking timebomb’ PIK debt with Manchester United.
A family spokesman recently refused to confirm or deny that the Qataris have cleared or refinanced the debt to gain an ‘option’ on buying United, and no shares have been transferred to Qatar. But that same spokesman has since left the Glazers’ employment and, with no sign of a replacement, the suggestion is that the Glazers are preparing to sell up.
A group of Liverpool businessmen courted the Qataris last year in a bid to persuade them to buy their club. They were told Qatar’s investment strategy was to take international events, such as 2022, to Qatar, not to buy overseas teams. The rationale was that investing in one club to gain attention and boost tourism might backfire if it alienated fans of other clubs. The Barca deal shows that has changed.”
It could simply be wishful thinking on my part but I cannot help feeling that Harris just may be on to something.
Does anyone believe that this could REALLY happen?