Serie A heavyweights from Milan, arch-rivals AC Milan and Inter, are reportedly under the watchful eye of the Public Investment Fund (PIF).

For the time being, four of the most popular clubs in Saudi Arabia—Al Nassr, Al Ittihad, Al Ahli, and Al Hilal—are owned by the Saudi Public Investment Fund. Last summer, Saudi Arabia welcomed a slew of elite players thanks to their massive financial influx.

Already in January, Cristiano Ronaldo had made his way over there to play with Al-Nassr. Some estimates put the annual value of the offer at around $200 million, which he accepted at the start of 2023.

Karim Benzema, who had previously played with the Portuguese at Real Madrid, joined him in the summer after he departed for Al-Ittihad. Just a short time after, N’Golo Kante, another Frenchman, departed Chelsea to join the 2022 Ballon d’Or winner in the Kingdom.

In June, Al Hilal broke the Premier League transfer record with a $60 million deal to acquire Ruben Neves from Wolves. This record didn’t last for long as the club bought Malcom, a former winger for Barcelona. The Brazilian international Neymar surpassed that record once again. This came when he finally signed a deal to go from Paris to Riyadh, reportedly for $97.8 million. In reality, it was the most significant summer transfer to the Saudi Pro League.

Serie A on PIF radar after Newcastle takeover?

Newcastle, a club in the Premier League, are yet another property of the fund. The Magpies have also added to their roster of high-profile acquisitions. This came after being acquired by a group headed by Saudi Arabia in October 2021.

Over the last two years, the St. James’ Park’s side have soared to unprecedented heights. All thanks in large part to Eddie Howe’s use of the Public Investment Fund to spend more than $507 million on new players.

Now, the group are reportedly eyeing Italian soccer as an investment opportunity, according to an Italian journalist. In the beginning, Maurizio Pistocchi says, the PIF tried to purchase Juventus from current owners, EXOR.

Nonetheless, the conditions were not acceptable to both sides. This led the Saudis to zero down on their two Derby della Madonnina competitors.

What do reports suggest?

He reported that one year prior, on November 28, there had been a complete resignation of Juventus’ board of directors, including President Agnelli. He mentioned that since 2019, the year when Cristiano Ronaldo joined, Juventus had incurred losses amounting to $783 million. As a consequence, the parent company Exor had undertaken four capital increases totaling $980m.

He further reported that the current stock market capitalization of Juventus stands at $687m. This is $326m less than the injection from the parent company. In 2019, the capitalization was $1.85 billion. Over the span of four years, the club’s management had incurred losses of $2.18bn.

Additionally, he mentioned the upcoming expiration in February 2024 of a $190 bond. This bond, although not guaranteed, EXOR were expected to honor. In the given context, he reported on negotiations between the owners and the Arab fund PIF for the sale of a minority share.

However, these negotiations didn’t progress further than a letter of intent. This is because Saudi Arabia had no interest in a minority share. There was also a disparity in the valuation of the club. The owners valued it at $2.18bn, while the fund assessed it at $1.5bn.

He noted that following the abandonment of Juventus, the Sovereign Fund of Saudi Arabia, PIF, are now expressing interest in two other Serie A clubs – Inter and Milan, Pistocchi said on his X account.

For the Nerazzuri, he highlighted that the situation’s evolution is pending. This is particularly referencing the refinancing of the Oaktree bond of $300 million expiring in February 2024. Coincidentally, the Rossoneri are currently facing a request for $1.5bn.

Photo credits: IMAGO / AFLOSPORT : IMAGO / AFLOSPORT