Football has become a global sport in recent years.
Being a fan is one of the easiest motives to buy a sporting team. Over the years, several billionaires have bought their favourites football clubs. But, football’s global appeal has increased in the past few years. This has resulted in many business tycoons investing in the sport. Several see this as a potential investment opportunity and now own one or multiple clubs. Due to this, some of the biggest football sales have happened in recent times.
Here are the top 10 biggest football clubs sales in history.
10. Paris Saint Germain
Qatar Sports Investments bought the French club in 2011. Since the takeover, the Parisians have enjoyed tremendous success. PSG have become giants of French and world football. They have won multiple domestic league titles since then.
In 2012, QSI became the sole shareholder of PSG. The Qatar company had initially bought 70% of the club’s shares in 2011. They purchased the rest putting the total value of the club around £100m.
Roman Abramovich was one of the first major investors in the Premier League. The Russian billionaire bought the London club for £140m in 2003. This propelled the Blues to a path of success in England and Europe. Since the move, they have won the most trophies among English clubs.
The majority of Abramovich’s fortune comes from selling Russian state-owned assets following the fall of the Soviet Union. He has also invested in the oil and aluminum industries.
8. Manchester City
Sheikh Mansoor bought the Premier League side for £160m in 2008. This investment paid huge dividends, as the Mancunians are one of the richest clubs in the world. They have enjoyed tremendous domestic success since the takeover.
The Abu Dhabi billionaire is one of the richest people in the world. He is the owner of the Abu Dhabi United Group, an investment company. Sheikh Mansoor also owns City Football Group. Clubs like Melbourne City, Mumbai City FC, New York City come under its umbrella.
7. Inter Milan
Zhang Jidong is a Chinese entrepreneur and bought the Serie A giants in 2016. He acquired the majority ownership through his company the Suning Holdings Group. They paid around £225m for the takeover.
Inter Milan have enjoyed tremendous success since the change in ownership. The club have become a regular feature in the Champions League. They also won the Serie A title in the 2020-21 season. This ended Juventus’ dominance in the league.
In October 2010, Fenway Sports Group bought Liverpool from then owners George Gillet and Tom Hicks. FSG paid £300m for the purchase. The deal was completed in partnership with NESV I, LLC and UKSV Holdings Company Limited.
The Reds have enjoyed tremendous success since the change in ownership. They won the Champions League title in 2018-19. The club also won its first-ever Premier League title in 2019-20.
5. Newcastle United
This was one of the most controversial football club sales in recent years. The Saudi Arabian Public Investment Fund purchased the club for a reported fee of £300m. PIF bought the club in partnership with PCP Capital Partners and the Ruben Brothers. Mike Ashley was Newcastle United’s owner for over 14 years before the sale.
The deal was initially mooted in April 2020. But, the Premier League controversially refused to ratify the takeover. However, after protracted negotiations, the move was completed in April 2021.
Singaporean property tycoon Peter Lim was confirmed as the new Valencia owner in 2014. He paid a total of £345m to take over the club. The deal was completed after 10 months of negotiations.
It was reported that Lim offered £200m for Valencia’s debt and £140m for the building of a new stadium. The Singapore businessman took over the club after acquiring a 70.4% stake.
3. AC Milan
The Rossoneri are one of the most historic clubs in Italy. But, they have failed to replicate their success in recent years. This saw former owner Silvio Berlusconi sold the club to Chinese businessmen Li Yonghong. The two parties agreed on a deal worth £600m for AC Milan’s sale in 2016.
AC Milan struggled with the new owners as well. This resulted in Elliot Management taking over the club. The American investment firm became the club’s official proprietor with a majority stake. They defaulted Li Yonghong’s £340m debt in 2018.
Stan Kroenke took complete control of the Gunners in 2018. He offered around £600m which was accepted by then part-owner Alisher Usmanov. The American bought 90% of the club’s shares at the time. He then purchased the rest to become the sole shareholder.
The American billionaire is the owner of Kroenke Sports & Entertainment. Kroenke also owns NFL side Los Angeles Rams and NBA franchise Denver Nuggets.
1. Manchester United
The Red Devils are one of the most successful clubs in England and the world. They are currently owned by the Glazers. The American family also own the NFL franchise Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Joel Glazer completed the Premier League team’s takeover in 2005 in what was one of the costliest takeovers of a football club.
The final purchase price of Manchester United is valued at around £800m. Since the acquisition, the Premier League side have been one of the profitable clubs in the world. But, their success has declined in recent years.