Liverpool takeover: Everything you need to know about who's taking over the Reds and when
The Liverpool takeover is rumbling on in the background of the January transfer window – but what's going on exactly?
The Liverpool takeover is happening, right? It's been more than two months since Liverpool's owners, Fenway Sports Group (FSG), announced that they were looking at selling the club.
There's been talk of interest from Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the UAE – unsurprisingly, given the Gulf region's increased investment in European football – but principal owner John W. Henry and chairman Tom Werner have yet to find a buyer for the Reds.
As the search continues, FourFourTwo brings you up to speed with the latest on the Anfield saga.
The Liverpool takeover: Why do FSG want to sell Liverpool?
The exact reasons behind FSG's decision to put Liverpool up for sale remain unknown, but two factors do jump out.
For starters, Henry and Werner were among the most prominent proponents of the failed European Super League (ESL) plot in 2021. Upon learning of the Reds' involvement in the proposed breakaway league, supporters protested vociferously against the ownership. At the time, club legend and Sky Sports pundit Jamie Carragher said he saw 'no future' for FSG at Anfield (opens in new tab).
After withdrawing from the ESL, Henry issued an apology to fans (opens in new tab), but, despite tensions cooling, it's hard to imagine FSG have ever been fully forgiven.
More recently, the mega-money sale of Chelsea last summer may well have made FSG think the time had come to put Liverpool on the market. While he couldn't access the proceeds after having his assets frozen by the UK government as part of sanctions levelled against him due to alleged ties to Vladimir Putin, former Blues owner Roman Abramovich sold the club for £2.5bn – which ought to provide a guide price for FSG.
Who is in the frame to buy Liverpool?
While there doesn't seem to be any clear front-runner to take over at Liverpool right now, Mail Online (opens in new tab) reported last week that the sovereign wealth fund of Qatar, the Qatar Investment Authority (QIA), was in talks with FSG. A subsidiary of QIA, Qatar Sports Investments (QSi), has owned PSG since 2011.
There is also said to have been interest from parties in the USA and the UAE, as well as a joint consortium from Qatar and Saudi Arabia.
Elsewhere, Los Angeles Lakers basketball star Lebron James, who already has a 2% stake in Liverpool, was mentioned as a potential buyer, while UFC star Conor McGregor claimed he enquired 'as soon as' the Reds went up for sale (opens in new tab).
How rich could Liverpool become?
It's hard to know without knowing who's going to take over, of course – though as soon as the idea of Middle Eastern investment became more likely, plenty of Liverpool fans have been wondering if a Newcastle United-style transformation could take place.
One of the biggest grievances that Merseysiders have with the FSG ownership is their sell-to-buy model. This has seen the club move the likes of Philippe Coutinho and Sadio Mané on in order to rebuild the squad elsewhere – and though it's been successful for a number of years, the squad is now looking a little tired. Investment is due.
FSG have never invested in the playing squad and even the improvement to infrastructure, such as Anfield and the new Melwood training ground, has been conducted via loans.
When will the takeover happen?
After confirming reports in November that FSG wanted to sell Liverpool, chairman Tom Werner stressed that they were in no rush to do so (opens in new tab).
"We're exploring a sale," he told the Boston Globe, "but there's no urgency; no time from for us; and, as far as I'm concerned, it's business as usual.
"One outcome could be our continued stewardship for quite a while."
That stance doesn't seem to have changed between then and now – although a full takeover is said to appear less likely. According to the Liverpool Echo (opens in new tab), FSG have instead shifted their focus to seeking new shareholders.
Has there been any opposition from Liverpool fans to a takeover?
Liverpool, traditionally, is a very socialist city and investment from a nation that has a poor human rights record or questionable attitudes towards the LGBTQ+ community is likely to be met with disapproval by some fans. Though there have been no protests or petitions thus far, Liverpool were "united in opposition" to the Newcastle takeover – how fans would feel about their own side being bought, however, may be different.
Fans on the whole, though, remain open-minded to a takeover – especially given the lack of support for FSG and the current model.
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Tom Hancock started freelancing for FourFourTwo in April 2019 and has also written for The Analyst and When Saturday Comes, among others. He supports Wycombe Wanderers and has a soft spot for Wealdstone. A self-confessed statto, he has been known to watch football with a spreadsheet (or several) open...
- Mark WhiteStaff Writer