Saudi Prince Mohammed bin Salman has reportedly set his sights on taking over Manchester United , coming as a major blow to Newcastle fans.
Bin Salman was tipped to relieve United of their unpopular Glazers ownership last year via Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund.
However, details of negotiations with Newcastle were leaked last month, with British financier Amanda Staveley leading a consortium backed by Bin Salman.
The Sunday Mirror revealed earlier this month that Bin Salman had not given up hope of a United takeover.
And now the Shields Gazette claim the Saudi Crown Prince has performed a U-turn over Newcastle and could turn his attention to United.
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It is believed he considers them “a Premier League jewel in the crown, rather than relegation contenders”.
A reported £345m takeover of Newcastle was being considered, but Bin Salman is said to have cooled his interest in the Magpies.
He is said to have been left fuming that details of negotiations were leaked, while the involvement of Staveley is regarded an issue for both the buyer and seller.
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Thus, the Red Devils may now be Bin Salman’s preferred target – although they are valued at a significantly higher price of £3bn.
The Prince’s economic reforms in Saudi Arabia have included a major focus on sport and entertainment, such as staging Anthony Joshua’s crucial rematch with Andy Ruiz Jr back in December.
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He was willing to fork out £3.5bn to buy United 18 months ago, only for the Glazers to insist the club was not for sale.
Nevertheless, their latest financial figures make a grim reading for the Glazers, with broadcast revenue dropping by £39m as a result of demotion to the Europa League.
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Matchday revenue is also down by 15 per cent, while net debt has risen by £73.6m over the financial year – meaning Prince Mohammed is hoping they could have a change of heart.
The Glazers will be desperate to see Ole Gunnar Solskjaer guide United back into the Champions League by securing a top-four place in the Premier League this term.
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Solskjaer’s side currently sit three points adrift of fourth-place Chelsea with 11 games left to play in the 2019/20 campaign.
They can also qualify for next season's Champions League by winning the Europa League, with the score poised at 1-1 on aggregate heading into their last-32 second leg against Club Brugge on Thursday night.
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