Barcelona coach Xavi has claimed that a Qatar takeover at Manchester United led by Sheikh Jassim bin Hamad Al Thani would be a ‘very good option’ for the Premier League side.
Xavi made the assertion ahead of his Barça team playing at Old Trafford on Thursday night, citing his own experience of living in Qatar and a personal relationship with the Sheikh, who is chairman of one of the Gulf state’s largest banks and son of a former prime minister.
The Qatar bid is one of only two to be publicly confirmed ahead of last Friday’s soft deadline set by Raine, the investment bank overseeing the process. The other is from petrochemicals firm INEOS, the company founded and majority-owned by Manchester-born billionaire Sir Jim Ratcliffe.
Sheikh Jassim’s bid has already been deemed controversial and heavily criticised as a result of Qatar’s record on human rights and the illegality of homosexuality in the country, among other things.
But Xavi, who played for Qatari side Al Sadd for four years after leaving Barcelona and then also managed the club for another two, has come out in support.
“I have a good relationship with the Sheikh. He is a serious, responsible person and I think he would do a good job,” Xavi explained to the media on Wednesday.
“I know him well. He’s a very good person and I think he would be a very good option for United. I worked in Qatar for six years.”
On this edition of The Promised Land, part of the 90min podcast network, Scott Saunders & Rob Blanchette preview Man Utd’s Europa League clash with Barcelona, the role Jadon Sancho could have to play, his recent form & more. If you can’t see this embed, click here to listen to the podcast!