This is what Prince Abdullah's proposed takeover of Sheffield United hinges on

Prince Abdullah with Kevin McCabe
Prince Abdullah with Kevin McCabe
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There was precious little fanfare. When the club made an announcement on its website, the headline read simply: “A statement.”

But confirmation that HRH Prince Abdullah Bin Mosa’ad Abdulaziz Al Saud is attempting to take full control of Sheffield United has potentially huge implications at Bramall Lane.

Because as the rumours, whispers and even a comment from Kevin McCabe suggest, the outcome of talks between the two co-owners could shape United’s future for years to come.

Although neither party has commented publicly on developments, which were officially confirmed last week, it is clear Prince Abdullah’s bid hinges upon his ability to purchase the freeholds and leaseholds of United’s property interests including the Steelphalt Academy, Copthorne Hotel and Bramall Lane itself.

This stipulation, which is likely to have been written into the agreement which saw him become McCabe’s fellow co-owner five years ago, makes perfect sense.

Especially when one considers recent issues 40 miles away at Leeds.

But the fact discussions between Prince Abdullah and McCabe have yet to conclude suggests, given they effectively commenced on January 26, there are several sticking points.

A recent flurry of changes at board level is usually a symptom of politicking behind the scenes.

In the absence of any definitive explanation, it is impossible to know exactly what they are but, according to the communiqué United published on Thursday, it is clear Prince Abdullah will be required to spend considerably more than the club’s football operations alone are worth to acquire a 100 per cent stake in its parent company Blades Leisure Limited.

Prince Abdullah, who is known to spend much of his time in the USA, paid a nominal £1 for 50 per cent in 2013. In return, he pledged to invest significant undisclosed sums to help United, then in League One, climb through the divisions.

Now in the Championship, and only three points behind the play-off positions, manager Chris Wilder has insisted the negotiations will not cause a distraction.

But everyone connected with United will hope the situation is resolved and some light is shed sooner rather than later.