Manchester United to double in value as Saudi Arabia targets buying Champions League: report

Manchester United the Glazers owners Erik ten Hag manager with the Champions League trophy
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Manchester United could be set to receive huge financial benefit, with experts predicting that Saudi Arabia will attempt to purchase the UEFA Champions League.

With oil prices currently surging, a new report by financial experts at investment platform Saxo believe that the Champions League could be bought by a Saudi franchise in 2024 and reformed into a new "World Champions League”.

Highlighted in Saxo's annual Outrageous Predictions - which outlines 10 possible events for the upcoming year based on the current financial markets - Manchester United could see its share price double as a result. The report, though, doesn't actually clarify why Manchester United will double in value. 

Cristiano Ronaldo of Al-Nassr Club celebrates with :Sadio Mane of Al Nassr Club after scoring his teams first goal during the Saudi Pro League match between Al- Nassr and Al-Ahli at King Saud University Stadium on September 22, 2023 in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. (Photo by Francois Nel/Getty Images)

Saudi Arabia have ambitions of investing in even more football (Image credit: Getty Images)

Saxo’s Ole Hansen, Head of Commodity Strategy, and Kim Cramer Larsson, Technical Analyst, wrote: “Saudi Arabia’s radical restructuring of its economy away from its dependency on oil revenues towards becoming a tourism, leisure and entertainment powerhouse, receives an added boost from a meteoric rise in oil prices, which reach $150 (£118) per barrel around mid-year on stronger-than-expected demand, as the green transformation begins to sputter amid rising costs, and after the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC+), led by Saudi Arabia, maintains a firm grip on supply.

“In recent years, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS), a known football enthusiast, has overseen the revamping of the Saudi Pro League, with a focus on improved on-pitch performance through the acquisition of world-class players in order to become one of the top 10 football leagues in the world. 

"However, with oil revenues surging, MBS sees an excellent opportunity to go one step further and, backed by FIFA, the Kingdom launches a successful attempt to buy the Champions League, one of the world’s most prestigious football tournaments."

The report suggests that the "World Champions League" will consist of 48 teams, with European sides guaranteed 32 spots in the competition. Asia, Africa and the Americas will each be granted five spots each, with the remaining space going to Oceania. 

The UEFA Champions League Trophy is captured ahead of the the UEFA Champions League 2023/24 Group Stage Draw at Grimaldi Forum on August 31, 2023 in Monaco, Monaco.

Will the Champions League move to a global competition? (Image credit: Valerio Pennicino - UEFA/UEFA via Getty Images)

Largely played in Saudi Arabia's capital city, Riyadh, the new competition will be welcomed by clubs due to the money on offer - something that FIFA couldn't provide when previously attempting to revamp the Club World Cup

“Now holding the keys to the cherished football competition, the Saudis immediately move to transform it into a global club competition that FIFA, despite offering prize money of $150 million (£119m), had tried but failed to establish amid resistance from UEFA and the European Club Association, and not least the biggest clubs in Europe, fearing risk of players’ fatigue," Hansen added.

“However, with the Saudi takeover, the new offer reaches a level where the big clubs cannot say no, especially after being offered money for all 220 leading clubs under the European Club Association umbrella."

More Manchester United and Champions League stories

Manchester United have been linked with a move for Atletico Madrid and France star Antoine Griezmann. Meanwhile, a former Barcelona defender could potentially be on his way to Old Trafford.

Almost half a year after leaving Manchester United as a free agent, David de Gea could be close to sealing a move to a new club. Meanwhile, Erik ten Hag has defended his training methods as the injuries pile up – with Mason Mount the latest player set for a spell on the sidelines.

FourFourTwo goes behind the scenes at TNT Sports' Champions League Goals Show.

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