Equal Time: The Crown Prince will make Manchester United kings of England again
Photo by Senior Master Sgt. Adrian Cadiz released for public use from US Dept of Defense website
Following a disastrous summer in which the Glazer family came under heavy scrutiny, it's no surprise news of Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman's interest in Manchester United led many United faithful to believe their fortunes might be taking a turn for the better. The summer transfer widow epitomised everything wrong with the Glazers' ownership. It demonstrated a disturbing truth. The Americans only cared about maximising their profits.
Early in Jose Mourinho's tenure, the Glazers willingly broke the bank for high profile signings Paul Pogba and Henrikh Mkhitaryan. At the same time, their frugal side was already evident. Zlatan Ibrahimovic arrived on a free transfer. When Alexis Sanchez arrived, they agreed to an astronomical wage, but the player was part of a swap that removed the inconsistent Mkhitaryan from the books.
A week into the World Cup, United signed Fred from Shakhtar Donetsk for £52 million. However, when Jose Mourinho requested funds to reinforce his central defence, the transfer kitty was locked, the key thrown away. Rumours claimed Mourinho wanted Harry Maguire but the Glazers refused to budge on Leicester City's asking price. Chief executive Ed Woodward all but confirmed the speculation when he said there were no defenders on the market better than those already on the Red Devils' books.
What makes this interesting is Real Madrid were allegedly shopping Raphael Verane, a player with vast marketability, for £100 million. United had the money but not the will.
The Glazers' £780 million leveraged buy-out of Manchester United in 2005 left the club swimming in a sea of debt. Although United recently published record revenues of £590 million, the vast majority services the debt. Who can blame fans for thinking an owner worth an estimated $1.4 trillion wouldn't be such a bad idea?
It's reported that Saudi Arabia, or more specifically the House of Saud, wish to diversify their investment away from oil. If reports are to be believed, owning Manchester United would not only be a source of income for the Saudis' but a competition as well.
With neighbours Qatar and the United Arab Emirates acquiring Manchester City and PSG respectively and the former winning hosting rights for the 2022 World Cup, United fans can't help but believe the Crown Prince's plan will be to outspend his gulf rivals. Presumably, the clubs debt will also be paid down with all future investment in the club prioritising the product on the pitch.
Money hasn't been all Qatar and the UAE brought to the party at City and PSG. Top quality managers and directors were hired, ensuring the clubs are run in an excellent manner. Both clubs boast Sporting Directors who govern the philosophy and core values of the club with care and conduct transfer business with a well-considered, deeply detailed strategy. While neither has yet found success in the Champions League, each progresses towards their goal every season.
Issues outside football will concern many, raising doubts over another foreign takeover. Regardless, if the expert running of PSG and Manchester City is anything to go by, then an Arab takeover of Manchester United can only be the road to success.