Paris Saint-Germain president Nasser Al-Khelaifi is involved in Sheikh Jassim bin Hamad al Thani’s takeover bid for Manchester United, according to a new report.
The Sheikh is reported to be one of two main parties bidding for United and according to The Athletic’s David Ornstein, the outgoing owners, the Glazers, have asked the PSG president to intervene on their behalf with his compatriot and ask him to increase his bid.
Ornstein reports that Al-Khelaifi “has played a significant role” in negotiations between Sheikh Jassim and the American tycoons.
There is still a gap in valuations between the £5 billion bid by Sheikh Jassim’s Nine-Two Foundation and the Glazers’ £6.4bn asking price.
And Ornstein claims that the PSG president has been “contacted by the Glazers in an attempt to persuade Sheikh Jassim to increase his bid.”
This has already “raised eyebrows” in regard to whether the Four-Two foundation is merely a front for what is really Qatari state ownership of a second Champions League club.
UEFA rules forbid clubs from the same owners participating in the same tournament.
Both Al-Khelaifi’s people and those of Sheikh Jassim have vehemently denied that this is the case and maintain that Nine-Two is a completely private enterprise.
The former’s involvement is not denied, but he is said to be acting in an “advisory role” for the Sheikh and has attended meetings with the Glazers and Raine Group, who are handling the sale, only in that context.
Various reports have recently said that Sir Jim is ahead in the race because whilst he is not proposing a full takeover, he values the club at a price per share closer to the Glazers’ demands.
On Wednesday it emerged that the Sheikh had responded with a fifth “take it or leave it” bid and, while the offer is to remain on the table, has said he would not engage further after today.
Al-Khelaifi is “one of the most influential people in football”, Ornstein notes, and is on the board of the QIA which manages state-controlled sport in Qatar.
“A number of Premier League clubs fear Sheikh Jassim may simply be a face for the Qatari state if he were to become United’s owner and would want the source of any funds thoroughly investigated,” Ornstein says.