There was a time, in the not-too-distant past, when the overarching storyline in matches between Newcastle United and Manchester City revolved around Kevin Keegan’s relationship with each club.
Yet, since a consortium headed by the Saudi Arabia Public Investment Fund (PIF) acquired Newcastle United in October 2021, any match against Manchester City, which was bought by the Abu Dhabi United Group in September 2008, has become wrapped up in a complex vortex of Middle Eastern politics. One can only wonder if Keggy would love that.
Both investment vehicles are keen to distance themselves from the governments of the states closely linked to each purchase and avoid the murky world of state ownership.
So, if we follow the British government’s lead (always a dangerous precedent) and accept this fuzzy distinction, here’s how the mind-boggling wealth of each clubs’ owners compares.
PIF acquired an 80% stake in Newcastle when taking the club off Mike Ashley’s hands 18 months ago. The remaining shares are held by PCP Capital Partners and RB Sports & Media.
The Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman chairs PIF, his nation’s wealth fund. The crown prince is part of the country’s royal family which is worth up to £1.1 trillion according to Business Insider. That’s £1.1 trillion, as in, £1,100bn.
The sovereign wealth fund that holds a majority stake in Newcastle was valued at around £315bn by Sky Sports when the takeover was confirmed.
Yasir Al-Rumayyan is a governor of PIF and was appointed Newcastle’s non-executive chairman when the takeover was completed. Forbes Middle East revealed that Al-Rumayyan earns an annual salary of $302,000 for his role as chairman of Saudi Aramco, ranked as the most valuable company in the world but estimates of his personal net worth vary wildly from $13m to $3bn.
Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the deputy prime minister of the United Arab Emirates, is the owner of the the Abu Dhabi United Group which acquired Manchester City. Sheikh Mansour later oversaw the creation of City Football Group as a parent company before accepting investment from China Media Capital and CITIC Capital.
The personal wealth of Sheikh Mansour is estimated to be in the region of £17bn, a fraction of the sum attached to Newcastle. Although, Mansour’s family – which is one of six ruling families in Abu Dhabi – is thought to be worth up to £1 trillion, equivalent to the riches boasted by his Saudi Arabian counterparts.
Across the three transfer windows Newcastle’s owners have been at the helm for, the Magpies have spent more than £250m on transfer fees, recouping barely £2m per Transfermarkt.
Chelsea are the only club to exceed such expenditure in this period but Manchester City have also invested £150m into Pep Guardiola’s squad. However, City have actually made a profit over the past three windows in transfer dealings after accruing more than £190m in sales fees during this time.
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