Saudi league chief expects more investors

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Take-overs at Manchester City and Portsmouth could lead to middle-eastern investors targeting another 10 English teams, according to the head of the Saudi Arabia league.

Ali Al Faraj's takeover at Pompey was announced this week, while Manchester City were bought by the Abu Dhabi United Group in 2008 - and Liverpool have recently been linked with investment from Prince Faisal bin Fahd bin Abdullah al-Saud.

"In one year's time, if there was no backfire and everyone is settled, I am sure at least 10 more investors will come," said Dr Hafez Al Medlej, chairman of the Saudi Professional League Commission. "Not necessarily to the Premier League. They might come and buy some clubs at the Championship level."

Al Medlej is excited by the middle-eastern investment in clubs but admits Portsmouth owner Al Faraj is not known in Saudi circles.

"I hope Al Faraj has success, but we never heard of this guy," he said at the Leaders In Football summit at Stamford Bridge. "I asked my friends and no-one knows him. For three days, I see there is no picture of him in the Saudi papers.

"If he comes with the money and leaves the management to those who know about it then that's good."

In contrast, Al Medlej is fully aware of Prince Faisal, who has been involved in discussions with George Gillett, one half of the American ownership with Texan Tom Hicks, about buying at least a part-share in Liverpool.

"They will benefit from the money that he will inject to the club," he added. "It will help them bring world-class players.

"They have Fernando Torres and Steven Gerrard and if they bring in two more they will be hot favourites again to win the league, or the Champions League."

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