According to several reports, English football club Manchester United (Man United) is on track to being owned by Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, the current emir of Qatar. The country’s ruler, who is allegedly a huge Manchester United fan, already owns French football team Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) through the state-run shareholding organization Qatar Sports Investments (QSI), which is a potential obstacle as one entity cannot own two clubs in the same competition — and United and PSG could meet in Europe.
Sources say that a bid for the sports club will be made in the coming days, months after the Glazer family announced that they were interested in selling the team back in November for a value of $7.2 billion, bringing an end to their 17-year ownership of Man U.
Qatar’s potential investment in the Old Trafford-based football club will no doubt help its expansion, as the wealthy Gulf state will pour in funds into the team and enable them to sign major names who could improve the team’s performance and help them contend for the highly-sought-after league title. Just look at PSG– The French team are the world’s seventh-most valuable football club, thanks to the financial backing of their extremely wealthy owners. PSG’s strong position has been sustained by the club’s Qatari owners and subsequent splurge of money on high-profile signings, including Zlatan Ibrahimović, Neymar, Kylian Mbappé, and Lionel Messi, in addition to lucrative sponsorship deals with the Qatar Tourism Authority, Nike, Air Jordan, Accor, and Qatar Airways.
Whether Manchester United will be GCC-owned in the next couple of weeks or not remains to be seen, however, Qatar isn’t the only Arab nation that has invested in a European football club. Many Arabs, including members of the Saudi and Qatari royal families, own major football teams— discover them below.
Manchester City F.C
Sheikh Mansour, an Emirati politician who is the deputy prime minister of the United Arab Emirates and member of the royal family of Abu Dhabi, purchased the Manchester-based English football club in 2008. Today, it’s one of the strongest teams in the division, eclipsing its rival, neighbor Manchester United.
Newcastle United F.C.
Since Saudi Crown Prince Mohamed Bin Salman took over the European football club, Newcastle is now considered the wealthiest club in the Premiere League.
Aston Villa F.C.
Egyptian billionaire Nassef Sawiris replaced Tony Xia as chairman of Aston Villa, joining forces with Wes Edens, the co-owner of NBA’s Milwaukee Bucks, to make a “significant investment” in the the Midlands club who play in the second tier of English football.
Sheikh Abdullah Bin Nasser Bin Abdullah Al Ahmed Al Thani, member of the Qatari royal family, bought the Spanish club back in 2010. Unfortunately, following Al Thani’s takeover, the team has steadily declined, going from playing in the top Spanish La Liga to playing in the Segunda División—the second division of Spanish football.