Liverpool £2bn takeover shock: FSG want investment not a sale

Owners have rejected a huge offer from Abu Dhabi and the reactions of fans speak volumes

Mohamed Salah Liverpool transfer news Man Utd
Liverpool striker Mohamed Salah in action against Manchester United in the Premier League
(Image credit: Paul Ellis/AFP/Getty Images)

Just when things seemed to be going smoothly for Liverpool with the prospect of a genuine title challenge this year, news of an attempted £2bn takeover has emerged. This is prompting speculation over the club’s future under the ownership of the US-based Fenway Sports Group.

The offer was made by the cousin of Manchester City owner Sheikh Mansour, reports the Daily Mail.

Sheik Khaled Bin Zayed Al Nehayan, a member of the Abu Dhabi royal family, “approached representatives of Liverpool’s owners over the course of several months in late 2017 and into early 2018”, says the paper.

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“He then made a £2bn offer that would have constituted the most expensive takeover in the history of football.”

Liverpool’s owners want investment not a sale

Liverpool say negotiations never got off the ground and insist the club isn’t for sale.

“It is, however, clear that Liverpool’s owners, Fenway Sports Group, are actively seeking investment to transform the club into a superpower capable of rivalling the world’s richest both commercially and in the transfer market,” claims the Mail.

FSG bought Liverpool for £300m in 2010 and have since invested heavily in the redevelopment of Anfield and a new training complex. They have also provided transfer funds. Manager Jurgen Klopp spent more than £230m on players this calendar year.

While they want to challenge Man City, the Reds’ owners have also been impressed by their rival’s business model.

“FSG have seen how Premier League rivals Manchester City, despite the backing of billionaire owner Sheikh Mansour, opened themselves up to beneficial investment opportunities after they sold a 13 per cent stake to a Chinese consortium in 2015 for £265m,” says The Guardian.

Reaction shows fans are behind the owners

News of the takeover came like a “bolt from the blue”, says the Liverpool Echo, but the fans’ reactions show how attitudes towards the current owners have changed.

Many Liverpool supporters were unable to hide their excitement at the prospect of a billionaire taking over at Anfield, says the paper. “However, many other fans were happy to see the talks fall flat, with FSG praised for their stewardship of Liverpool.”

Things have certainly changed over the past 12 months. “If this takeover news had broken last summer, when Liverpool missed out on [Virgil] Van Dijk, interest in Thomas Lemar came to nothing and Klopp was forced to wait a year for Naby Keita, fan reaction would most likely have been very different.

“But one year and success on and off the pitch – Philippe Coutinho’s sale notwithstanding – cannot be ignored.”

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