The media minister of Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman has denied reports that the monarch is planning a takeover of Manchester United football club.
Rumours circulated over the weekend that Prince Salman was looking to buy the English team for a whopping £3.8 billion, however it appears that, for now at least, those rumours have been put to bed.
"Reports claiming that HRH the Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman intends on buying Manchester United are completely false," Turki al-Shabanah declared on Twitter.
— تركي الشبانه (@TurkiAlshabanah) 17 February 2019
"Manchester United held a meeting with PIF [ Public Investment Fund] Saudi to discuss a sponsorship opportunity. No deal has materialised," he reportedly added.
If true, the sale would have absolutely dwarfed the amount United were purchased for by their current American owners, who paid £790 million in May 2005.
Yet, judging by Old Trafford's actions toward Riyadh over the past few months, there is reason to believe that, for now at least, politics may get in the way of football.
In October 2018, Manchester United decided not to participate in an investment forum in Saudi Arabia amidst the global diplomatic fallout — particularly potent in the West — following the death of dissident Saudi journalist, Jamal Khashoggi, in Riyadh's embassy in Turkey.
Reactions by fans to the news that a possible buy by Saudi Arabia was just rumours came in thick and fast.
— IamEggzy (@unamma_patrick) 18 February 2019
— AxAs (@AxAs23) 18 February 2019
— Gwilym Cox (@gwilymcox) 18 February 2019