NEWCASTLE won’t be the only Premier League side backed by Saudi investment next season after Sheffield United gained promotion from the Championship.
The Blades have been part-owned by Saudi Prince Abdullah bin Musaid Al Saud since 2013 when he bought a stake in the club for just £1.
Prince Abdullah Bin Mosaad Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud at BramallLane
The Sheffield club had run into financial issues that season which forced former owner Kevin McCabe to sell 50% of the club to the Prince – with the expectation the two would then sell their shares to a third party.
The prince refused to sell however, leading to a bitter legal dispute between him and McCabe.
Prince Abdullah ultimately won the legal battle, with the high court finding he was the sole owner of the club in September 2019.
He was able to buy McCabe’s remaining shares for just £5m.
Since then, Prince Abdullah’s shares have risen in estimated value to £75m.
His ownership has been shrouded in controversy throughout, with the EFL only lifting a transfer embargo on the club last month after the club defaulted on transfer payments.
Despite promotion to the Premier League, Prince Abdullah says he still plans to sell the club, with US investment firm 777 partners rumoured to be interested in a takeover.
When the prince became involved with Sheffield United at the beginning of the 2013-14 season, Sheffield United were coming off the back of two years in League One.
They went on to gain promotion to the Championship in 2017, before earning promotion to the Premier League in 2019.
They enjoyed a successful first Premier League season under Chris Wilder, finishing ninth.
Their sophomore year was miserable, however, with the club relegated having spent the season rooted to the bottom of the table.
They have bounced back impressively since relegation, making the play-offs last season before gaining automatic promotion back to the Premier League this year.
Since becoming majority owner in 2019, the prince has not been afraid to splash the cash.
Ahead of their 2019-20 Premier League season, United brought in Sander Berge from Genk for a then club-record £20m and Oliver McBurnie for £17.5 million.
Buoyed by their ninth place finish that season, they went on to bring in Rhian Brewster from Liverpool for a club record £23.5 million and Arsenal-ace Aaron Ramsdale for £18.5 million.
But since relegation to the Championship, the Blades have had to be savvy in the market, unearthing gems like Iliman Ndiaye.
Ndiaye shone in The Championship this season scoring 15 and assisting 12 goals in his 52 appearances for The Blades.
He also made his World Cup debut for Senegal despite the fact he’d been playing Sunday league football as recently as 2019.
The Blades’ financial issues mean they have relied largely on loans and free transfers of late.
Prince Abdullah has said he wants to sell the club soon, saying to TalkSPORT: “To sell is my intention but nothing is guaranteed.
“I’m not going to sell to just anybody. I care about who owns the club next.”