Saudi Arabia PIF targets Inter Milan takeover after Newcastle buy

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (2nd-R) attends the heavyweight boxing match between Andy Ruiz Jr. and Anthony Joshua for the IBF, WBA, WBO and IBO titles in Diriya, near the Saudi capital on December 7, 2019. - Joshua reclaimed his world heavyweight crown from Andy Ruiz, outclassing the Mexican-American to score a unanimous points victory. (Photo by Fayez Nureldine / AFP) (Photo by FAYEZ NURELDINE/AFP via Getty Images)

Only days after completing the takeover of Newcastle United, the Saudi Arabian Public Investment Fund (PIF), backed by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, is ready to buy Inter from cash-strapped Steven Zhang for €1 billion.

Last week, the consortium received final approval to complete their takeover of the Magpies, paying £300 million for the club and putting an end to Mike Ashley’s 14-year reign on Tyneside.

The PIF, on the other hand, is not content to stop there and has already begun to distribute its money throughout Serie A. The Saudi-backed investment company wants to add Inter to its portfolio and has already met with current owner Zhang to discuss a possible €1 billion takeover.

Zhang and the Suning group are racking up massive debts in Milan, and the situation is unlikely to change under their control due to Chinese government restrictions and a general lack of finances.

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Inter survived the summer by selling two of their most valuable assets, Romelu Lukaku and Achraf Hakimi, but it is more likely that they will have to gut their roster again in January and the following summer, rather than rebuilding a stronger team.

Despite delivering Inter’s first Scudetto in 11 years, this seemingly continuous cycle has made the Suning ownership highly unpopular with Inter fans. So, either the owners handle their current issue, which is extremely complicated in the short term, or they sell the club.

The Public Investment Fund is interested in purchasing Inter from its current owners, and according to certain sources, a €1 billion deal has been reached. According to the Libero newspaper, the word within financial circles is that the two parties have reached an agreement following a meeting in mid-September to explore a takeover.

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Zhang, on the other hand, is said to be hesitant to sell the Nerazzurri before realising his dream of building a brand new stadium for his club, which has yet to be sanctioned.

Given the fight in England to thwart their purchase of Newcastle, amid worries over the Crown Prince’s role and Saudi Arabia’s dubious human rights record, this move could spark controversy in Italy.

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