SAUDI Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman is stepping up his £3.8bn takeover bid of Manchester United – in the hope of becoming the new owner by next season.
It comes with United chiefs spending an increasing amount of time in Saudi Arabia.
EPA9 Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman could be in place as Man Utd's new owner by the summer
Now the Saudi royal, whose family are worth around £850BILLION, will hope current owners the Glazer family can be tempted into selling.
Sources around Old Trafford have always denied the Glazers want to sell, but the mega offer could be too good to turn down.
The American family purchased United for £790million almost 14 years ago but saddled the club with huge debt.
But it seems like it will work out pretty well for them if they do sell – making an astronomical £2.2billion profit.
AFP – Getty9 The Glazer family, Joel right and Avram left, have never said they want to sell – but £3.8bn could tempt them
Reuters9 The likes of Paul Pogba and Marcus Rashford are turning Manchester United into a VERY attractive proposition
SunSport first reported the Saudi interest back in October, and that buying the club outright was the top choice.
But the skids were put on a potential offer after the Crown Prince became embroiled in the diplomatic row after journalist Jamal Khashoggi was killed.
The £3.8bn valuation is dependent on Ole Gunnar Solskjaer delivering Manchester United a place in next season’s Champions League, with a deal unlikely to be agreed before their qualification is confirmed.
Should United fall short, a compromise is likely to be reached on a lower valuation.
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Bin Salman, 33, reportedly wants to buy Manchester United to take on Man City, who are owned by Sheikh Mansour of the Abu Dhabi royal family.
The country has already made investments in sport through deals with F1 and WWE.
But so far its biggest play in football has been banning Qatar's beIN SPORTS from broadcasting in the country.
BeoutQ, a firm allegedly based in Saudi Arabia, has been pirating the beIN SPORTS coverage of the Premier League.
PA:Press Association9 The exact value of the club will depend on where interim boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer gets the team to finish in the Premier League and what, if any, trophies he can bag
Buying into United would be a massive statement in the wider financial and political battles being fought between the Gulf states.
Bin Salman is the heir to the throne in Saudi Arabia, and is currently serving as the country's deputy prime minister.
His work in developing greater equality between the sexes in his home country has been heralded worldwide, as has his move to make Saudi Arabia more attractive to visit for tourists.
Reuters9 Old Trafford could be housing some new owners next season
MEET THE GLAZER FAMILY
These are the six children of Malcolm and Linda Glazer who control the destiny of Manchester United.
Although all six are directors of the football club and the associated companies which control it, co-chairmen Avram and Joel are by far the most hands-on.
Bryan has attended games at Old Trafford, but Kevin, Darcie and Edward have not shown a lot of interest in the family’s flagship investment.
After the initial 2012 flotation of 10 per cent of the shares in Manchester United Pl on on the New York Stock Exchange, the family has gradually sold more stock so just over 20 per cent is now publicly traded.
Four big institutional investors own nearly three quarter of those “A” shares.
But the six Glazer children hold more than 98 per cent of the “B” shares between them – and each “B” share has 10 times the voting rights of an “A” share.
So the Glazers retain firm control of United and it would take an offer that valued the club at well over £3billion to persuade them to sell a significant stake, let alone the whole thing.
PA:Press Association9 Avram Glazer, left, is the most hands-on of the family at Manchester United
AVRAM GLAZER, 58
Known as Avie, the eldest child of Malcolm and Linda Glazer has been co-chairman of United, with brother Joel, since 2005.
His earlier business career included being chairman and chief executive of the Zapata Corporation, which was founded by George W Bush, later the 41st president of the USA.
JOEL GLAZER, 47
As well as his involvement with United, Joel is co-chairman,with brothers Bryan and Edward, of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the NFL franchise the family bought in 1995.
Under their tenure, the Bucs won their first Super Bowl in 2003 and opened a new stadium where home team touchdowns are marked by cannons firing from a 103-foot replica pirate ship.
Getty9 Joel is co-chairman,with brothers Bryan and Edward, of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers too
BRYAN GLAZER, 53
Also a former Zapata executive. Takes control of a lot of the day-to-day running of the NFL team and had a big ole in the design and construction of the Raymond James Stadium.
In 2015 made a $4million contribution to setting up the Bryan Glazer Jewish Community Center in Tampa.
KEVIN GLAZER, 56
Co-chairman of First Allied Corporation, the real estate company which is the foundation of the family’s fortune.
He’s also the director of a banking firm, a commercial refrigeration business and the Houlihan’s restaurant chain.
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DARCIE GLAZER KASSEWITZ, 50
Executive vice-present of First Allied Corporation.
She is co-president and main driving force of the Glazer Family Foundation which established a Children’s Museum in Tampa and does a lot of philanthropic work in the city, much of it linked to the Bucs.
EDWARD GLAZER, 48
Co-president of the Foundation.
The Glazers are known as supporters of Donald Trump, but although Ed hosted a fundraiser for Trump and donated $250,000 to his inaugural committee, but also gave $5,400 to Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign.
Cashed in £30m of United shares in December 2014, barely six months after father Malcolm’s death.
AFP9 Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman is ready to embark on a Premier League adventure
WHO IS CROWN PRINCE MOHAMMAD BIN SALMAN?
His full name is Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud and he was born on August 31, 1985, in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.
The prince is the son of the current head of state King Salman and his third wife Fahda bint Falah bin Sultan bin Hathleen.
Mohammed is the eldest of his full siblings and has a law degree from King Saud University in Riyadh.
He entered politics in 2009 becoming a personal aide to his dad when he was still governor of Riyadh.
Following the death of King Abdullah in 2015 his father took the throne and elevated him to the positions of Defence Minister and Deputy Crown Prince.
In 2017 King Salman deposed the previous Crown Prince, Muhammad bin Nayef, and elevated his son to heir apparent.
He is also deputy prime minister.