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Steven Zhang, chairman of FC Internazionale, celebrates with... Photo by Nicolò Campo/LightRocket via Getty Images

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Inter Milan up for sale, Saudi Arabia’s PIF might entertain takeover

The new owners of Newcastle United could be exploring the buy of another European behemoth

There is a lot of stuff going on, and most if it contradicts every other piece of information out there. The seeming consensus feeling: famous Italian side Inter Milan is inching closer to getting sold and is reportedly valued at 1.2€ billion for whoever can assume that cost.

Inter’s president Steven Zhang claimed last July that “Suning has no interest in selling Inter despite the rumors.” Suning is the owner of the Nerazzuri, with the Zhang family as the head of the operation. It’s been now a few years of rumors about the potential sale of the club by the Chinese non-government retailer.

The latest reports coming from Italy are shedding light on the whole saga about the potential sale of the club by stating that Inter could sell the club for a total sum that fluctuates between 1.2€ and 1.4€ billion.

It is widely believed that “the Zhang family has already given US bank Goldman Sachs the mandate to sell Inter” for that quoted price, according to Italian journalist Fabrizio Biasin.

As Biasin himself reported, this doesn’t mean an immediate sale will take place in the following days or even weeks. The process, though, “has been initiated” as he put it.

Economy expert Marco Bellinazzo, in an interview with Calciomercato.it streamed on Twitch, explained the situation Inter finds itself in with the current Chinese investors holding ownership of the Italian club. He said that “Inter are relying on self-financing [which] is not a viable path for a long time.” He added that “[a sale] has been on the table for some time.”

When it comes to Newcastle United and its environment, it seems that the Saudi Public Investment Fund will be one of the most interested suitors in acquiring the ownership of the club, as it already did with the Tyneside-based organization last October.

Of course, if that comes to actually happen it would definitely create an awkward situation between Inter, Newcastle, and all other parts ancillary involved in the conglomerate. For one, and although other similar operations are already present in the world of football—Manchester City Football and its group of clubs, or the Red Bull empire to name a couple—it’d be strange to have two such high-profile clubs such as Inter and soon-to-play-in-Europe Newcastle as part of the same ownership group.

On top of that, Newcastle is the flagship of the PIF right now, but there would be nothing stopping the Saudi Arabian owners from ponying up all of their infinite money to bolster an already-established and worldwide-recognized club as Inter before they do the Magpies. That could not only affect Newcastle’s transfer business and talent acquisition, but all other fronts related to the club such as the improvement of the training facilities and the academy, the hiring of the best-available professionals at different posts, and the investment in the women’s side of the club.

Inter is coming off a season in which they won the Coppa Italia for the eighth time while finishing runner-ups of the Serie A—they won itin the 2020-21 season, though. Inter have played Champions League football for five seasons in a row—including this one—and have missed on European football just three times since the start of the millennium.

Newcastle, on the other hand, has just one season of European football in the past 15 seasons while the Magpies got relegated twice in the same span only to bounce back to the Premier League the two seasons after those setbacks happened. The difference in recent and historic prestige between both clubs in the world of football is quite easy to stop, and the reasons for a potential takeover of the Italians to turn them into the PIF no. 1 priority are obvious.

It should not be forgotten that Saudi Arabia is also plotting the organization of a dubious World Cup on its soil, reportedly as early as the 2030 edition in eight years.

The Arabian nation is working on a joint bid with Egypt and Greece (yes, that Greece) to host the tournament less than a decade from now. The World Cup, as reported by the Sports Business Journal, would also take place in the winter season such as the next one being held in Qatar next November and December.

Having a clean, babyface presence in Europe by the way of owning Newcastle and, most of all, European giant Inter would definitely help the Saudi Arabia PIF in making a much stronger case to FIFA than it’d be if they can’t grab hold of a couple of legitimate top-tier clubs around Europe to prove their worth to the eyes of the infamous football organization.

We’ll see how things develop, but one thing is clear and that is that both Newcastle as an organization and football fans would definitely come out as losers if this new takeover—let alone that WC bid—goes through in the next few weeks or months.

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