The reason why interest in buying EPL top clubs fades!
Premier League clubs are starting to return profits. These are likely to increase when the effects of the lucrative new television deal kicks in. Yet in at least five cases sales of Premier League clubs have failed to be brought to a conclusion over the summer, despite often intensive bargaining.
West Bromwich Albion, which at one time entered exclusive talks with a buyer, saw the deal collapse when the Chinese stock market plummeted. The banks stopped lending and the buyer couldn’t complete.
One attempt to sell Aston Villa was foiled by sanctions on Russia. With Russian companies short of capital, no one wanted to tell President Putin they would be spending hundreds of millions overseas.
Hull City is up for sale, but is yet to attract any significant interest, even though there is no external borrowing. They are, of course, now in the Championship, but there are significant parachute payments and reasonable hopes of a return to the top flight.
Crystal Palace saw talks break down when better performance on the pitch led to a price rise. Southampton’s owner Katharina Liebherr has not tried to sell, but has entertained offers that have not led to a deal.
One factor is that the ‘fit and proper person’ test has been made much tighter. The Premier League now has to approve shareholders and directors. Many US buyers have struggled with the idea that their club could be relegated, although this has not put them off in the past. Relegation clauses can also be inserted into contract, altthough this might put off sellers.
Some Middle Eastern buyers have been put off by the controversy that has surrounded Qatar securing the 2022 World Cup. Others have been discouraged by the vitriol that fans hurl at owners when things don’t go well on the pitch.
Foreign purchases of clubs have by no means come to an end, but there may be a prolonged pause in acquisitions.