Numerous rumors on the matter as reported by Il Sole 24 Ore
“The presence of the Italian clubs in Riyadh for the Super Cup and for the friendly match that Roma will play against Al-Shabab on 24 January have rekindled the rumors about the Arab world’s interest in Serie A”. This is what the economic and financial newspaper Sole 24 Ore writes today. “In particular, those who ended up at the center of rumors about alleged transfer negotiations, with an echo that bounces from the Gulf to the Peninsula, were AC Milan (among the teams most loved by Saudi football fans) and the club in the last few hours. yellow Red”.
“More than 40 years after the last time, Roma will fly to Riyadh to face Al-Shababa club of the Roshn Professional League founded 75 years ago, at Al-Awwal Park” we read in the Sole 24 Ore. “The friendly match was organized as part of the Riyadh Season, the event with sporting, musical and cultural events that promotes the image of the Saudi capital and attracts over 15 million visitors”. “For a few months”, in fact, “it has been the main sponsor on Roma’s shirts (the two-year agreement should be worth 25 million)”.
“The appeal of the Giallorossi shirt and of a city like Rome has not been undermined by the recent difficulties and the dismissal of an iconic coach like Jose Mourinho. On the contrary. Hence the interest from the Arab world also for a possible entry into the shareholding of the club”.
“The rumors in this sense are confirmed by the Saudi financial circles in close contact with the American ones who are increasingly present in the Gulf with consultant banks – they explain -. The boundary of a negotiation and even more so of an expression of interest, however, has not been crossed In this sense, there is the utmost respect for the Friedkin family who have invested a total of 850 million euros in the Rome adventure in approximately three years. And who, as Il Sole 24 Ore has been able to verify, do not intend to sell the company and do not does not even have a reflection on the topic on the agenda”.
“Even on the Rossoneri front, the rumors about possible transfers are not confirmed. The work on the new stadium and securing third place to immediately return to the Champions League remain the priorities of the management and ownership. The attention to the balance of the accounts, also in compliance with the agreement with UEFA, with the return to profit achieved in 2023, will not decrease. Jerry Cardinale, however, has been working for some months to find convenient solutions and repay the debt contracted with Elliott when he purchased the club (585 million, with interest around 7%, and a final sum to be repaid of around 670 million). There is no particular urgency given that the deadline is set for 2025 and that Red Bird currently manages assets of around 8 billion euros through various funds.”
“In recent weeks – reports Il Sole 24 Ore – Cardinale was in the Gulf where he met several Arab investors, increasingly interested in participating in deals that move in the industrial universe between sport and entertainment. In this perspective they have opened discussions also on possible investments in Milan. Cardinale’s idea would be to sell, if necessary, small shares, as the American franchises are doing which in recent years, after the pandemic, have opened up to the possibility that private equity funds take over among 5 and 10 percent – concludes the newspaper -. The proceeds of the sale could clearly also reduce the financial weight of the loan with Elliott. For now, therefore, these are working hypotheses to be recorded”.