EPL

Man Utd, Chelsea, Celtic? – Conor McGregor reiterates desire to purchase a football club

By Sports Desk March 06, 2022

UFC star Conor McGregor has reiterated his desire to buy a football club, with Manchester United, Celtic and Chelsea all on his radar.

The 33-year-old said on social media this week that he would like to "explore" the prospect of purchasing Chelsea after Roman Abramovich confirmed his intention to sell up.

He has also previously signalled his interest in purchasing United from the Glazer family and the stake of fellow Irishman Dermot Desmond in Celtic.

McGregor's latest comments were met with scepticism given Abramovich's reported £3billion valuation of Chelsea, but he insisted he is serious about his interest.

"I do not speak in jest," he posted on his personal Twitter account on Sunday in tweets that were seemingly deleted soon after. "I am exploring this, as I said.

"Celtic from Dermot Desmond, Manchester United from the Glaziers [sic], and now the recently up for sale Chelsea football club. All being explored. 

"A football franchise purchase is in my future make no mistake about it."

McGregor has accumulated significant wealth through a number of high-profile bouts, including a crossover into boxing when taking on Floyd Mayweather in 2017.

He moved into the world of business when launching a whiskey brand in 2018 and the Irishman is determined to add a sports team to his profile.

"Everyday I ball," he added. "How wouldn't I lead a team of young, dedicated athletes to glory. I'm perfect for the job. Pray it's your team."

McGregor has been joined by several others in showing an interest in purchasing Chelsea, with Turkish businessman Muhsin Bayrak reportedly already in talks with Abramovich.

Long-serving owner Abramovich announced on Wednesday he had taken the "incredibly difficult" decision to put the club up for sale.

In a statement, he said the sale "will not be fast-tracked but will follow due process", adding he will not be asking for loans to be repaid by the club.

That decision came amid the threat of sanctions against further Russian businesses and high-profile individuals following the country's invasion of Ukraine last week.

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    Newcastle confirmed earlier this week a deal, worth a reported upfront cost of £31.8million (€37m), had been reached with Lille to sign the central defender.

    That transfer was made official on Friday, with the ambitious Premier League club seeing off interest from a number of other teams, including Serie A champions Milan.

    Netherlands Under-21 international Botman becomes Newcastle's third signing of the window following the permanent capture of Matt Targett and the arrival of Nick Pope.

    Eddie Howe's side continue to be linked with an array of other players, and Botman is confident he has made the right choice in moving to St James' Park.

    "I'm really happy – delighted – and I can't wait to start this new adventure," Botman, who penned a five-year contract, told Newcastle's official website. 

    "This is the best day of my life, to sign a contract with Newcastle United. It's a day I've worked hard for and I'm very excited.

    "Newcastle had a long-term plan to get to the top, for both me and for the club, and they play in the Premier League which is the best league in Europe. 

    "The whole package is just perfect. I'm looking forward now to meeting the fans and also my new team-mates."

    Newcastle may reportedly pay up to £35m for Botman, which would make him their third-most expensive signing behind Bruno Guimaraes and Joelinton (both £40m).

    Botman won the Ligue 1 title during his two years with Lille, having previously emerged through Ajax's youth system without making a competitive senior appearance.

    "I'm delighted Sven is joining us. He is technically very good, physically very good and has a great attitude," Newcastle boss Howe added.

    "At 22, he already has solid experience at the top level but he is at a great age to grow with this team. 

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    Newcastle begin their 2022-23 Premier League season at home against newly promoted Nottingham Forest on August 6.

  • 'This is his club now' – Klopp says new deal for 'king' Salah was worth the wait 'This is his club now' – Klopp says new deal for 'king' Salah was worth the wait

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    Mohamed Salah committed his long-term future to Liverpool on Friday by signing a new three-year deal.

    The Egypt international was due to be out of contract at the end of the upcoming season, leading to strong links with a move away from Anfield.

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    ALREADY AMONG LIVERPOOL GREATS

    It is difficult to remember now, but Salah's arrival from Roma in a deal rising to £43million raised more than a few eyebrows due to his disappointing earlier spell with Chelsea.

    Six major honours later, including one as a key part in the club's first Premier League title triumph, and Salah will go down as one of Liverpool's all-time greats.

    The 30-year-old has made 254 appearances for the Reds in total, 235 of those being starts, and has scored 156 goals while assisting 58 more.

    Those 156 goals rank him ninth on the list of Liverpool's record scorers, with considerable ground to make up on Ian Rush at the top of that list with 346 goals.


    CLOSING IN ON GERRARD RECORD

    Salah might struggle to overhaul Rush, but he will also have another record in his sights when the 2022-23 campaign gets up and running next month.

    With 164 direct goal involvements in the Premier League, Salah trails only Steven Gerrard (212) among Reds players in the competition in that regard.

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    Kylian Mbappe, seen by many as the most desirable player in world football, is fourth on that list on 163 goal involvements, while Ciro Immobile is fifth with 159.


    PREMIER LEAGUE PEDIGREE

    Salah has scored 118 goals for Liverpool in the Premier League alone, which is 13 more than next-best Harry Kane among all clubs since the start of the 2017-18 season.

    Those strikes have helped Salah to three Golden Boot awards – only Arsenal legend Thierry Henry (4) has finished top of the competition's scoring charts more often.

    The former Basel forward also ranks top for minutes per goal among those to have played at least 100 times (126 minutes per goal), shots (678) and touches in the opposition box (1,575).

    However, one metric he does not lead is assists, with Manchester City's Kevin De Bruyne boasting 58 to Salah's 46.


    MORE TO COME FROM MO

    Salah's output has been consistent across his five years at Anfield, starting between 45 and 49 games a season and registering double figures for assists in all but one of those campaigns.

    He has remained a prolific scorer throughout, with a high of 44 goals in the 2017-18 season and a low – but still respectable – 23 in the 2019-20 campaign. The latter was the season when Liverpool won the Premier League.

    The Al Mokawloon youth product has managed 31 goals in each of the past two seasons, while the 15 assists registered last season was a career-high.

    All that suggests Salah is far from finished on Merseyside, and with a new three-year deal signed, Liverpool fans have plenty more to look forward to from their 'Egyptian king'.

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