Andy Green in a Guardian article thinks paying £1.5bn for Man Utd is too much. But it maybe a price the Glazers could settle on to make a tidy profit. If there is anybody that can pull it off without thinking twice it is the al- Thani family that rule Qatar. Which is why there are such persistent rumours of a takeover. It may not be dismissed lightly.
The al-Thani's managed to get the 2022 World Cup against conventional wisdom partly because of their wrinkle free financial clout. A few weeks later Barca signed a record five year £125m million (£25m/ year) shirt sponsorship deal with the Qatar Foundation, a non-profit organization run by Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani. The stunning speed with which the sponsorship was launched was seen by some as a quid pro quo for Spain's support for Qatar's 2022 bid. But more likely it was a way of bailing out of trouble one of the biggest names in football (Barca posted record losses) and creating goodwill. Having UNICEF and the Qatar Foundation logo on the same jersey will not hurt either in the PR department.
A Man Utd takeover for investment purposes holds no interest for the mega billionaire Qataris. But a club of its stature will be a huge boost to Qatar's ambition as sporting superpower. The ruling family has a history of trying unconventional methods of attracting talented players to the tiny Emirate but they've largely failed. But they've recently launched a more savvy effort setting up the Aspire Football Dreams Academy that sends out scouts to sign up talented schoolchildren from the developing world (mostly Africa and South America) bringing them to the Gulf to develop them. Some of them might nurse ambitions playing for a club like Man Utd while their end of the bargain would be to represent Qatar.
There is substance to these rumours if we start looking away from the narrow prism of investment and consider Qatar's larger vision.