Karren Brady reckons there’s also national pride at stake with Saudi Arabia, Qatar and UAE all investing money in clubs
THE sign of the finger will be shown across the Arabian Desert should PSG win the Champions League.
From one small corner of the sandy wasteland, across millions of acres to the Saudi palaces of Riyadh, a point will have been made never to underestimate Qatar.
For those who stray to the news pages the connection will be clear.
A Saudi Arabian-led coalition, which includes Abu Dhabi, have put a hex on Qatar, cutting diplomatic ties and banning trade.
I’ll leave the experts to explain the reasons, although I understand it has to do with Qatar’s friendship with Iran.
Anyway, there has been no bowing of Qatar heads to the scimitar.
Already scheduled — ridiculously, I’d say — to host the 2022 World Cup, the tiny state’s latest move has been to fund the two biggest transfers in history, amounting to £360million.
Nasser Al-Khelaifi, 45, once rose to No 955 in the world tennis rankings but as chairman and chief executive aims a lot higher with Paris Saint-Germain.
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Backed by Qatar’s oil and gas gazillions, the 2011 five-year plan to win Europe’s most-coveted club title failed.
And if ever defiance was encapsulated to all the doubters, it came with the summer captures of Neymar and Kylian Mbappe.
Meanwhile, the Saudi bets are across the Channel in Manchester.
While City haven’t exactly underspent, in this battle of the vanities their £221.3m outlay looks a little sickly.
It left me wondering whether the decision not to spend a further £25m on West Brom defender Jonny Evans was more to do with embarrassment at comparisons as a depleted wallet, which was Pep Guardiola’s assessment.
Like Al-Khelaifi, Sheikh Mansour, the titular owner of City, is intent on setting up a sports empire far beyond the Middle East.
The difference is the PSG chairman is hands-on and certainly more regularly present at the Parc des Princes.
Only once in nine years of ownership has Mansour visited the Etihad and the whole City outfit had to take a break in Abu Dhabi to meet him last year.
No doubt the deputy prime minister of UAE and father-of-six is a busy man, so perhaps he should hand his season ticket to a proper supporter.
Even the Glazers pop into Old Trafford more often.
They bought United as a financial gamble and it has been a huge success, the six Glazer kids pocketing £2.5m-a-year.
In any wealth league, when it comes to Al-Khelaifi, Mansour, Roman Abramovich or Stan Kroenke, they are the Simpsons among the Sampsons.
Even with the billions endowed by TV companies on football, there are the rich and the seriously rich.
It seems to me a source of pride among many Premier League supporters that their club’s owner is happy to whack players over the head with pound notes.
Abramovich was the instigator of this method of getting his own way.
Last year, City beat PSG by a single goal in the quarter-finals.
PSG’s stupendous outlay should improve the French team — and heaven help coach Unai Emery if it doesn’t.
The big reward for Paris and Qatar is their first Champions League title and if they beat City along the way, so much the better.