Khashoggi's death could hamper Mohammad bin Salman's rumoured bid to buy Manchester United
The crown prince of Saudi Arabia is reported to be keen to buy out the Glazer family any deal is off until events surrounding the journalist's death are clarified.
A few weeks ago, the British press reported that Manchester United could be about to change hands in a multi-million offer from Saudi Arabia. The buyer is rumoured to be crown prince Mohammad bin Salman.
At the time, the whereabouts of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi, who had been critical about the Saudi regime, was not known, but nobody had linked the heir apparent to the columnist's disappearance after been seen entering the Saudi consulate in Turkey - or managed to piece together the moments leading to his eventual, brutal death.
The Glazers, silent on reported United takeover bid
The Glazer family, United's owners, prefer not to make any public declarations about the alleged offer - their only action was to filter to the UK press information to state that Manchester United was not up for sale - or at least they have no plans to reduce their controlling stake in the club. But Khashoggi's disappearance has put the international community on alert because there are suspicions, from several government intelligence services and investigative journalists, that Mohammad bin Salman was behind his death.
The climate of mistrust towards Saudi Arabia was reflected this week when a host of companies and investors boycotted the Davos in the Desert financial conference in Riyadh - representatives from JP Morgan, Uber, Ford, CNN and CNBC were among those who withdrew while IMF managing director Christine Lagarde decided to "defer" her scheduled trip to the Middle East. The Glazer brothers had also planned to attend the event but both dropped from the list when details of the Khashoggi case started to emerge.
But according to reports in the British press today, the Saudi interest in Manchester United is real and some papers claim that Bin Salman will return with a new offer, around 4,500 million euros according to The Mirror, in the coming weeks. Manchester United has enjoyed business links with Saudi Arabia for several years since striking a five-year partnership deal with Saudi Telecom and The Independent believes that alliance will give both parties an opportunity to negotiate without the need for any intermediaries.
Despite all of that, United have no intention to sit down to discuss the sale of the club with Mohammad bin Salman until the Khashoggi case is completely closed and if suspicions about the journalist's fate are confirmed, those negotiations will never happen.