In a further sign of his determination to increase his influence overseas, Sheffield United co-owner HRH Prince Abdullah bin Musa’ad bin Abdulaziz Al Saud’s “substantial” investment has paved the way for a London based real estate firm to embark upon a multi-million pound spending spree according to leading analysts.
Property Week, which reports the worldwide commercial and residential markets, has claimed Darin Partners is expected to double its UK portfolio after appointing Prince Abdullah to its board. Tareq Hawasli, his fellow United director, is a co-founder of the company.
Earlier this year, Prince Abdullah launched an attempt to take sole control of the Championship club after offering to purchase Kevin McCabe’s 50 per cent shareholding. Although the two have yet to reach an agreement, the Saudi royal’s decision to back Darin’s plans could be significant as he presses ahead with his bid.
Although it remains unclear exactly how much Prince Abdullah has pumped into the firm, Property Week recently predicted Darin, which holds around £175m of domestic assets, could be set to acquire £200m more over the coming 12 months.
Coincidentally, property could also hold the key to Prince Abdullah’s takeover attempt at Bramall Lane. The agreement which paved the way for his arrival in 2013 requires whoever owns United must also “in certain circumstances”, secure the freehold and leaseholds of sites including their training complex, the Copthorne Hotel and the stadium itself.
Despite the on-going uncertainty, Prince Abdullah and McCabe improved Chris Wilder’s recruitment budget and handed the manager an extended contract earlier this summer.