Everything is going right for Qatar and its quest to establish itself as a footballing powerhouse. After successfully hosting the FIFA World Cup, they’re looking to enter the Premier League with a possible investment in one of the league’s top six clubs.
The Premier League has long been one of the most exhilarating football leagues in the world, featuring some of the world’s best football players. Having a stake in one of the league’s established powerhouses will allow the Qataris to make a mark that could become larger than the recently concluded World Cup.
Should the situation bear fruit, it poses an interesting question for Premier League football and the underlying relationship among three of the most powerful Gulf countries. Any potential purchase or investment will impact how the country’s current relationship with Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates will pan out.
This OKBET piece will discuss which clubs Qatar could purchase or invest in. Moreover, we’ll take a quick look into Qatar’s relationship with its neighbors that own two Premier League clubs.
Qatar’s Successful European Football Journey
If you look at the European footballing landscape, Qatar already has things sorted. Through Qatar Sports Investments (QSI), they have control over PSG, one of the biggest clubs in Europe. Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s arrival in the summer of 2012 was their declaration of intent for dominance in European football.
QSI’s investment in PSG resulted in significant returns. They won eight of the last ten seasons in the French top flight. Les Parisiens also bagged six Coupes de France, six Coupes de la Ligue, and nine Trophee des Champions.
Under QSI and Nasser Al-Khelaifi’s leadership, the team’s aggressive run in the transfer market saw them put up an eye-popping €1.4 billion bill. Thanks to their owners’ bottomless wallets, PSG acquired world-class players like Thiago Silva, Angel Di Maria, Edinson Cavani, Marquinhos, and Marco Veratti.
New football fans who started following the sport after the World Cup will notice that three of the best footballers in the competition are currently wearing PSG shirts. Kylian Mbappe, Neymar, and Lionel Messi are the front three in a loaded PSG side hungry to win the Champions League.
The Champions League trophy that continues to elude Les Parisiens is the only thing missing from PSG’s already-impressive trophy cabinet. They face a formidable opponent in Bayern Munich in the first knockout round. However, they have the players and tactics to punch through the German powerhouse.
Qatar Expanding Into Other Footballing Markets
It may seem like Qatar’s chase for one of the three Premier League clubs came out of nowhere. The casual football fan may be puzzled by QSI’s decision to chase after an English club as a part of their portfolio.
However, a Premier League club will not be the second sports team under their management. They recently acquired a 21.67% stake in Braga in October 2022. Os Arcebispos are currently fighting for the top spot in Primera Liga by the time Qatar bought its stake. It will be easy to imagine they’ll have future interactions with PSG.
The acquisition of a Premier League club will only further expand the influence of Qatar in world football. A move into the Premier League makes sense for the Qataris as they are one of the most profitable leagues in the world.
Statista states that the Big Five—the English Premier League, La Liga, Serie A, German Bundesliga, and Ligue 1—are projected to earn €18.6 billion during the 2022/23 season. The Premier League tops the predicted revenue ranking at €7.1 billion.
With the promise of massive income and the media coverage the Premier League gets, it’s no wonder Qatar is considering joining in the action.
Which Club Will Qatar Buy?
It’s clear to everyone in the Premier League that whoever gains Qatar’s interest will gain access to finances that allow PSG to have the lion’s share of footballing talent. Within the league itself, Manchester City is a live testament to the effectiveness of oil money in English football.
There are three clubs currently in consideration for QSI. Each side boasts talented players and fantastic contributions to Premier League lore. They all have the value Al-Khelaifi is looking for in a club to add to their sporting portfolio.
The most recent meeting between Al-Khelaifi and Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy is the tinder sparked talks about QSI looking for a minority stake in the North London club. While the club denied claims that they’ll sell any part of the club, the exploratory talks between the two parties say a lot.
Tottenham will be a great team to invest in. They’re a fixture in the top half of the Premier League and appeared in recent European competitions. Moreover, the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium is a top-of-the-line stadium that deserves the club’s status.
Moreover, they have a fantastic group of players. Harry Kane and Son Heung-min lead a talented Tottenham side guided by renowned coach Antonio Conte. While outside the top four, they have the talent to finish in Champions League places.
Liverpool shocked the entire Premier League when they announced their intentions to seek an investor to aid in club operations. The club is one of the most influential football clubs for sale in the world right now, so it’s natural that they’ll attract a lot of interest.
The Reds have a rich history of dominance in the English and European games. Their most recent triumphs include the 2019/20 Premier League title, the 2021/22 FA Cup, and the 2018/19 Champions League.
They also have one of the most impressive squads in world football. They have incredible players like Alisson, Virgil van Dijk, Mohammed Salah, Roberto Firmino, and Darwin Nuñez on their payroll. Jurgen Klopp, considered one of the most influential thinkers in the game, calls the shots from the sidelines.
Unfortunately, Qatar getting Liverpool all to itself may seem like a pipe dream. Fenway Sports Group (FSG), the team’s ownership group, revealed that they want the club’s next owners to also be American. Unless they manage to sweet-talk FSG to sell the club to them, they won’t be able to have full ownership of the club based at Anfield.
The Manchester United faithful are rejoicing at the prospect of the Glazers leaving the club for good. While the club prospered financially under their reign, the quality of football they witnessed after Sir Alex Ferguson’s departure left much to be desired.
The Red Devils haven’t won anything significant since the Europa League in 2016/17, so it tells a lot about the team. However, Old Trafford’s allure and the rich history of United make them one of the most recognizable brands in football. Qatar owning the team will do wonders in their pursuit of recognition, football-wise.
The team still has a crop of elite talent to rely on. David de Gea, Lisandro Martinez, Bruno Fernandes, Antony, and Marcus Rashford are some of the players proudly donning the United badge on their chests.
Manchester United’s search for a buyer or investor is said to be going along swimmingly. QSI could become the team’s new owners if they find a reasonable deal with its American owners.
United fans would welcome the Qataris into the club as well. Besides freeing the club from the Glazers, they would also welcome the opportunity to finally have the financial muscle to fight their Sky Blue neighbors for the best footballers.
Qatar’s Football Relations with Its Neighbors
Football fans with a vested interest in global politics understand that Qatar’s foray into the English Premier League can be seen as testing the waters of the relationship between them and Saudi Arabia.
The Kingdom entered into English football after completing its purchase of Newcastle United from Mike Ashley in 2021. The Magpies are thriving in the league thanks to Eddie Howe’s leadership and excellent signings over the two transfer windows they have been in charge of.
The two nations had a testy relationship after Saudi Arabia led a trade embargo against Qatar. However, things have improved in Saudi-Qatari relations after re-establishing their relationship in 2021. Moreover, Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman was captured celebrating the Falcons’ group stage win over Argentina.
The City Football Group is the other Gulf country-controlled ownership group in the Premier League. The Sheikh Mansour-led group has majority control over Manchester City and other channels. Their financial backing of the club resulted in the Citizens winning the Premier League within five years of their control over the club.
The relationships of these oil-rich gulf states are trending upwards. Their entry into the Premier League could be an attempt to foster better relations with their neighbors through sport.
Qatar Will Shake Up English Football
Whatever Qatar does at this point, they have already impacted the English game. Their expression of interest in purchasing one of the Premier League giants will greatly impact how the league will play should they succeed.
But even if nothing ends up in their pursuit, they’ve declared an interest in becoming a force in world football. Even if nothing comes out of their Premier League shopping, they’ll another big club to add to their roster.
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