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Saudi Arabia’s sports minister has said that the state’s government would ‘definitely’ support private sector bids for Man Utd or Liverpool.

United announced in a statement on Tuesday that the club was set to explore ‘strategic alternatives’, including new investment or a sale of the club to another party.

The Red Devils have been owned by the Glazer family since 2005, although they have sold shares on the New York Stock Exchange on several occasions.

Malcolm Glazer bought the share held by Irish investors and horse-racing partners, John Magnier and JP McManus, who were famously embroiled in a scandal with Sir Alex Ferguson over the ‘Rock of Gibraltar’ horse, to acquire a majority stake in the club.

In terms of Liverpool, club chairman Tom Werner revealed that FSG were ‘exploring’ a sale of the club earlier this month.

The Reds have since attracted plenty of interest, although it is unclear whether any concrete bids have been made.

Investors from the state of Saudi Arabia, which, according to Forbes, possesses 16 per cent of the world’s proved crude oil reserves as of 2019, have been linked with both clubs. Now the state’s sports minister has said the Saudi government would back any bid.

Saudi Arabia sports minister comments on United, Liverpool

Speaking to BBC Sport, Prince Abdulaziz bin Turki Al Faisal said: “From the private sector, I can’t speak on their behalf, but there is a lot of interest and appetite and there’s a lot of passion for football.

“It’s [the Premier League] the most-watched league in Saudi and the region and you have a lot of fans of the Premier League.

“We will definitely support it if any [Saudi] private sector comes in, because we know that’s going to reflect positively on sports within the kingdom.

“But if there’s an investor willing to do so and the numbers add up, why not?”

Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) owns 80 per cent of Newcastle, completing a takeover of the club from previous owner Mike Ashley in October 2021.

The Magpies have broken their transfer record since then, bringing in striker Alexander Isak from Real Sociedad for a fee of £58 million.

The club’s new owners also appointed Eddie Howe as manager, who has guided the side to an impressive third place in the Premier League after 15 games.

Newcastle have the joint-best defence in the league, alongside Arsenal, conceding just 11 goals. They have also won their last five games, and have just one loss in the division this season.