Al-Fahim: 'I'm the new Abramovich'

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The Independent Football

Dr Sulaiman Al-Fahim, the owner-elect of Manchester City, expects his group's takeover of the club to have the same impact as Roman Abramovich's buy-out of Chelsea five years ago.

Subject to due diligence, Al-Fahim's Abu Dhabi United Group (ADUG) will be the new majority shareholders in the Barclays Premier League club after the two parties signed a Memorandum of Understanding for the change of ownership.

Chelsea have won the Premier League title twice, lifted the FA Cup once and reached the final of the UEFA Champions League since Russian Abramovich burst onto the scene at Stamford Bridge in 2003.

City have not won a trophy since picking up the League Cup in 1976, but Al-Fahim believes the funds available to manager Mark Hughes should ensure the wait for silverware will soon come to an end.

Asked how ADUG's takeover of City would compare with Abramovich's Chelsea buy-out, Al-Fahim told PA Sport: "I think it will be the same. We would like to see Manchester City fighting for trophies in every tournament.

"We don't just want Manchester City to be challenging for trophies in England, but also in the Champions League. We want them to be in for every trophy available."

City, who finished ninth in the Premier League last season, will take a potential glimpse into the future when they face Chelsea in their next league clash at Eastlands a week on Sunday.

And they will do so with Robinho in their ranks after the Brazilian sensationally moved to Eastlands last night in a British record deal.

The 24-year-old had been expected to move to Chelsea but the Blues refused to meet the 40million euros asking price.

Al-Fahim will try to attend that game, and he is keen to travel to England to hold talks with the club and the Premier League in the coming days so the details of the transaction can be clarified and ironed out.

In a statement released yesterday, ADUG said the aim would be for City to compete in the Champions League in the 2009-10 campaign - a feat that would require a top-four finish this season.

However, although the club have started the season in promising form and currently sit third in the table after three games, Al-Fahim appeared to acknowledge the real hunt for trophies would begin next season.

"A place in the Champions League is quite a jump from last season, but we are ready to sit down with the manager, find out the players he would like, and bring the right players into the club," Al-Fahim added.

"This season we would like to be a lot better than last season, and we are eager for trophies next season."

Al-Fahim is also keen to explore possible new revenue streams for the club, ensuring City will not have to solely rely on the funds made available by ADUG.

"Our message to the fans would be we promise we are here to sustain the club and make Manchester City competitive for trophies at the highest level," said Al-Fahim.

"We would also like to bring in extra revenues by introducing new marketing ideas.

"Looking at the club, they have a lot of fans, they are loyal fans, and there is the opportunity to grow there. They also have a lot of history. It was all very attractive to us.

"I think the one thing that has been missing was the right person to provide the right investment."