Liverpool for sale: what has been said about Rashid Al Maktoum’s possible purchase amid FSG decision

A look at what has been said about Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum interest in buying Liverpool.

Liverpool are up for sale, and there is plenty of speculation around who could buy the Reds. FSG have announced that they will listen to offers after 12 years of owning Liverpool and Anfield. The American ownership group have put together a sales pitch for potential buyers, and while this is not likely to be a quick process, speculation is ramping up.

British billionaire Sir Jim Ratcliffe heavily linked immediately after the statement from FSG, but he has since confirmed he will not be buying the Reds, claiming France’s Ligue 1 offers ‘better value’. There are other links, though, and one of them concerns Dubai ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum.

Rahid Al Maktoum would be investing as part of the Dubai International Capital, which is the sovereign wealth fund of the government of Dubai and its ruling family, the equivalent of Saudi Arabia’s PIF fund that has purchased Newcastle United recently.

DIC were linked with buying Liverpool in 2010, four years before FSG purchased the club, and they are now being linked again, with the club back available. When the links emerged in 2006, some interesting quotes emerged from a source close to DIC and Rahid Al Maktoum in an interview with The Independent.

The source said: “This is not about turning Liverpool into a trophy asset. It is not a case of Liverpool becoming the sheikh's personal plaything. DIC is a serious international player in all sorts of fields and this is one opportunity among many that makes sense. Liverpool have great history and tradition and represent an opportunity,” one source said. “DIC are comfortable in the UK, as other investments have shown, and comfortable in the leisure sector. They are serious about doing whatever is necessary to make Liverpool genuine contenders to Chelsea and Manchester United again, and have the resources to do it.

“But while acknowledging fully that they’re very high-profile, a massive club, in the context of some of DIC’s other deals it is a relatively small transaction.”

The source added: “Buying a football club makes sense with a lot of what is happening in Dubai. They [the Dubai ruling elite, and by extension, DIC] are doing all sorts of things in and around Dubai in terms of business, tourism, sports and leisure and owning a football club like Liverpool fits together very nicely. English football is an incredibly powerful international brand.”

John Henry (£2.14bn)
John Henry (£2.14bn)
John Henry (£2.14bn)

Of course, a lot has changed since 2006, but the DIC is now worth a reported £12.2 billion, meaning the ruler of Dubai is in a position where he and his investment could purchase Liverpool. Though, the Reds are likely to cost well over £4billion, so there will be a big question for DIC whether there will be sufficient return on investment given the level of risk required with the investment.

There is also a question over whether Rahid Al Maktoum would pass the Premier League’s ownership test. That’s because he has close links to the owner of Manchester City, Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, and football authorities will not want to risk any collusion, especially at the top of the Premier League. City owner Mansour is actually married to Rahid Al Maktoum’s daughter, and they both rule regions in the United Arab Emirates, ruling Abu Dhabi and Dubai respectively.