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Sun 3 Nov 2019 03:34 PM

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Manchester United director's Saudi visit not connected with takeover talk

Speculation had increased after Richard Arnold was pictured meeting with Saudi delegates

Manchester United director's Saudi visit not connected with takeover talk

Manchester United managing director Richard Arnold pictured speaking at the recent Future Investment Initiative summit in Riyadh. "The audience watching our games is the equivalent of having a Super Bowl every week," Arnold said. Image. FIIKSA

English Premier League giants Manchester United have dismissed increasing speculation over a possible big-money takeover by Saudi Arabia’s crown prince Mohammed Bin Salman.

United’s executive vice chairman Ed Woodward recently quashed rumours that Bin Salman was preparing a £3.8billion bid to buy the club from the Glazer family, owners of the Old Trafford outfit since 2005.

He told fanzine United we stand: “Based on what I see, they (Glazers) are in if for the long-term.

"With regards to offers or asking prices, my understanding is that there have been no discussions for a price for the club or anything like that. Every conversation we have is based on the long-term."

However, new stories resurfaced last week when pictures and videos of United managing director Richard Arnold meeting with Saudi delegates were posted on Twitter.

But according to a report in the Manchester Evening News, his visit wasn’t connected to a possible sale of the club and Arnold knows the son of Bin Salman through his previous work in telecommunications.

Arnold was in Riyadh last week for the Future Investment Initiative summit, where he was a speaker on one of the panels, discussing how technology has radically changed the way supporters engage with the club.

In 2017, United signed a memorandum of understanding with Saudi Arabia’s General Sports Authority (GSA) to develop the football industry in the kingdom. 

A United announcement at the time said: "Strategic partnership will see the club help Saudi Arabia’s General Sports Authority to create a sustainable and thriving football sector Manchester United and the General Sports Authority of Saudi Arabia have today agreed a memorandum of understanding, which will see the 20-time English League champions help the GSA develop its football industry, as part of its 2030 Vision.”

United suffered their fourth defeat of the season on Saturday as they lost 1-0 to Bournemouth, a result that sees them sit in tenth place in the league.