Manchester United owners the Glazer family have set an asking price of £3.75bn in order to sell the club, sparking interest from the Dubai sovereign wealth fund, according to reports.
The Glazers have faced increasing protests from fans in recent seasons as the team’s continued lack of success draws attention to their ownership of the club, which has seen its debts rise to around £600m and facilities including Old Trafford falling into disrepair.
Protest marches have taken place before some Premier League fixtures so far this season, with two defeats in the opening two matches leading to more scrutiny of the Glazers’ running of the club before Erik ten Hag’s men began a four-match winning streak.
Now the Daily Mail reports that the Americans are open to selling United, but will demand an eye-watering £3.75bn sum in order to do so.
The size of the figure means that United would be out of reach for even extremely wealthy individuals and hedge funds, and increases the likelihood of a sovereign wealth fund becoming a potential suitor.
The sovereign wealth funds of Abu Dhabi and Saudi Arabia already own Manchester City and Newcastle United already, while Qatar’s equivalent has been in charge of Paris Saint-Germain since 2011. The report lists Dubai, another emirate in the United Arab Emirates alongside Abu Dhabi, as a contender to take over United.
All three clubs have seen their fortunes improve since being taken over and spending more money on transfers, but the fact that their sports projects are essentially propaganda tools used to protect their national finances once oil resources run out has left all of the clubs accused of enabling ‘sportswashing’.
All three countries have poor records on human rights, especially those of women and LGBT+ people, as well as on democracy and are accused of using their sporting interests to launder their reputation on the international stage.
United are currently fifth in the Premier League table, three points behind leaders Arsenal, who they beat 3-1 at Old Trafford on Sunday afternoon.