TA: Qatar is really interested in Manchester United Tottenham, investing in Liverpool is social media speculation

January 24, The Athletic UK correspondent Adam Crafton analyzed in the second half of the column
The inside story of Qatar’s official desire to invest in the Premier League.

For those who are most critical of Qatar, it is natural to think that Qatar is using sports to whitewash its international image.
Others, however, take a slightly different view.

While the consequences of investing in sports may be that attention on the pitch outweighs discussions about human rights, multiple anonymous people interviewed by TA during the World Cup insisted this was not the immediate intention of Qatar’s top brass.

Instead, they point to two key factors.
First, the Qatari economy is heavily dependent on natural gas and there is a need to diversify the economy because natural gas will not last forever.
Qatar’s $450bn (£364bn) sovereign wealth fund, the Qatar Investment Authority (QIA, of which QSI is a subsidiary), has invested widely in financial institutions, technology, real estate, healthcare and retail.

Qatar Investment Authority chief executive Mansoor Al-Mahmoud said in Davos last week that the fund was considering investing in football clubs.

“It’s a very commercial decision. Sports is also becoming a very important theme: people are getting more involved in sports and digitalization is making it more attractive for investors,” Mahmoud said.

The second motivation is strategic and political, with Qatar’s national security at its core.
Multiple sources, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the Qatari government remains concerned about future invasion by its neighbours, and believes one way to secure more global support amid regional discord is to take root in the Premier League.

Qatari politicians were shocked when former US President Donald Trump tweeted his support for the blockade of Qatar.
Qatar considers itself a U.S. ally and hosts a U.S. air base and 10,000 U.S. troops.

Therefore, more exposure to and participation in highly popular and visible sporting events is seen as a way to gain greater global influence.

So the motivation is there, who is the Qatari government hoping to invest in?

In the first week of January, CBS exclusively reported a meeting between Nasser and Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy.
Also on the agenda was Qatar’s possible purchase of a minority stake in Spurs, with up to 15 per cent initially discussed.
These conversations continued, and Nasser actually spent a total of two weeks in London.

Levy believes that Spurs are worth at least as much as Chelsea given their state-of-the-art stadium, training ground, location in London and frequent Champions League qualification in recent years, which would mean around £2.5bn ($3.1bn).
The valuation – at Chelsea’s sale price – is the asking price he hopes to get.

QSI insists it will be committed to PSG in the short to medium term, but it seems realistic to speculate that at some point in the future the Qataris may seek to increase their minority investment in the Premier League club and reduce their stake in France,
They’ll do these things as long as it’s all right.

That’s not to say Qatar’s eyes are on one target.
Sources close to QSI have confirmed to TA that they are interested in Manchester United.
A full takeover of United earlier this year would have required QSI to cash out PSG at breakneck speed.
That scenario seems unlikely, with QSI insisting they are committed to Paris Saint-Germain.

The alternative is for the Qatar Investment Authority (QIA, the sovereign wealth fund) to conceive of a creative investment structure that can be clearly considered completely separate from the Parisian team’s investment, but that would be subject to various scrutiny

QSI has held exploratory internal conversations about Manchester United and has also spoken to third-party consultants, but at present, QSI insists that Nasser has not met with Rennes Bank, which is responsible for the sale, or the Glazer family of Manchester United owners.

In fact, it initially received suggestions that United’s owners did not want to sell a minority stake, and later there were even indications that they might be testing the market’s interest rather than being fully prepared to sell.

But in any case, Qatar at least “watched” Manchester United, and this situation may continue to change over time.
Although the Saudi Public Investment Fund already owns Newcastle United, they expect Saudi Arabia to form a consortium to bid for Manchester United.
The last one, besides the American capital, is naturally Ratcliffe, the owner of INEOS.

For now, social media speculation about Liverpool and Qatar is just speculation.
So at least until now, what really interests Qatar are Manchester United and Tottenham.

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