Sheikh Al-Thani could still be major stumbling block in Malaga saga

Satli Iglesias with lawyer José Carlos Aguilera.
Satli Iglesias with lawyer José Carlos Aguilera. / Migue Fernández
  • BlueBay are edging towards agreement with new Qatari investors, while Richard Shaheen is the new official CEO of the club

Negotiations are ongoing between BlueBay and new prospective Qatari investors over the sale of shares a June court ruling (which club president Sheikh Al-Thani is appealing) says is owed to the hotel group.

While the Qataris have moved closer to meeting BlueBay's conditions for a sale - the group's chairman Jamal Satli Iglesias has confirmed that he now knows the precise identities of the individuals behind the offer - there is still some way to go.

Satli Iglesias repeated BlueBay's official stance, which is that it will collaborate with the city hall, put the club's interests ahead of its own, and ultimately accept a credible offer from investors it considers reliable. Nevertheless, he insisted that the Qatari investors "need to present us their roadmap for the club; at the moment, we're still in the dark".

If progress is slow but tangible in the negotiations between BlueBay and the Qataris, it appears to be non-existent when it comes to any talks with Sheikh Al-Thani. The Qataris are thought to be interested in purchasing their compatriot's share in the club as well, but his attitude is still thought to be one of intransigence.

Little has been heard from the club president since he insisted a few weeks ago that he would not even consider selling one per cent of the club. He only broke his silence to send a cryptic tweet in Swedish, which when translated read "Hello Spain, I will be back soon!" This was the same message that Zlatan Ibrahimovic had sent out days before; why the controversial Qatari businessman chose to copy his words is a mystery. The tweet was soon deleted.

Still no structural changes

Meanwhile, there is still no sign of Richard Shaheen, officially announced as the club's CEO on Monday, announcing any structural changes at the club to make the necessary savings before January, when the club could face sanctions, including a points deduction from La Liga.

Given that there is also no indication of revenues increasing, the expectations placed upon new interim sporting director Manolo Gaspar have grown. He may well be expected to secure some sales in January, but this task will be difficult, as Al-Thani vetoed several deals in the summer, and it is not clear whether prospective buyers will return.

Gaspar described the constraints of his role as "like fighting in a nuclear war with a wooden sword", but assured Malaga fans that their star striker Antoñín was not for sale.