Rumors are circulating that controversial Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman is on the verge of a £4 billion-plus takeover of English Premier League giants Manchester United. Current owners, America’s Glazer Family, have come under much scrutiny from fans in recent years and despite the club being a cash cow for the family they finally may be ready to sell. This means a number of things for the 13 times Premier League Champions both positive and negative.
Pro: Ole Gunnar Solskjær has an open checkbook. If the rumors are true United will rival neighbors Manchester City and French Ligue One side Paris Saint Germain in buying power. The city is owned by ‘The City Group’ which involves Sheik Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan of the Abu Dhabi Royal Family while PSG has unlimited spending power from ‘Qatar Sports Investments’ which is funded by the state of Qatar. United would find themselves in this company with bin Salman looking to invest heavily to return the sleeping Giants to their rightful place and make a nice bit of change in the process.
Con: Ole Gunnar Solskjær’s time is running out. While the above is true the new owners will also have less patience with the underperforming Norwegian and the fact he was a fan favorite as a player will mean absolutely nothing to them as they look to win at all costs.
Pro: United will finally be able to attract the caliber of player they need to fight for both the Premier League and Champions League without worrying if any of the ‘richer’ clubs can outbid them. They will obviously need to get back to the Champions League to do that, but money talks and players of a higher caliber than Fred, Harry Maguire and Daniel James will now find the red side of Manchester an interesting destination.
Con: The club’s identity has been built on young players brought up in the club culture mixed with experienced heads. If a takeover was to happen it would become a win-now mentality, circa Chelsea when Roman Abramovich took over. This often leads to a drought of young talent, local and otherwise, coming through as every year the check-book is opened for a world-class player who has already earned his stripes.
Pro: United is one of (if not) the biggest clubs in the World. A takeover of this magnitude would just send them to a whole other level. Sponsorship, TV Deals, Advertising would all go through the roof as Bin Salman would look to use the club to also line his own pockets. Any fans who think this wouldn’t be the case need to take a close look at themselves and realize Soccer has become a for-profit business. The United brand would be back to were it belongs before long.
Con: Not all media attention is good and having a controversial figure like Bin Salman at the helm would mean fighting negative narratives on an almost daily basis. You could run the Man City approach of “it has nothing to do with the club” but ultimately you are taking money from this figurehead and in return making him money. You can hardly come out against him meaning most likely just keeping your mouth shut. That will give opposition fans a lot to chant about every Saturday in the stands.