Sheffield United: Blades co-owner Prince Abdullah agrees to invest in Belgian club Beerschot Wilrijk

Prince Abdullah with Kevin McCabe
Prince Abdullah with Kevin McCabe
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Sheffield United's co-owner Prince Abdullah has agreed to invest in Belgian club Beerschot Wilrijk.

The Saudi struck a deal with Kevin McCabe to buy 50 per cent of United's football operations in 2013, and invested millions in an attempt to escape League One.

And the Belgian club have confirmed that an agreement has been struck to see Prince Abdullah invest in the club. Jan Van Winckel, who was recently appointed to the football club board, will become a director of Beerschot.

"I am very proud of this agreement with DCA and owner Francis Vrancken to become a shareholder of KFCO Beerschot Wilrijk," the Prince said.

"Our goal is to turn KFCO Beerschot Wilrijk into a strong Pro League club, with a core that is supported by 35 per cent of the players trained by Beerschot Wilrijk's youth academy, and I was greatly impressed by the social responsibility of the club, with its 700 youth players, but also by the number of top players trained by the club in the past.

"Players such as Jan Vertonghen, Toby Alderweireld, Thomas Vermaelen, Moussa Dembele and Radja Nainggolan prove that Beerschot Wilrijk has the potential to become a club to be based on our own trained talents."

"The current board and the many volunteers have done a fantastic job over the past four and a half years, and have shown that they have the right team to lead the association to new successes," he added.

"Finally, I would like to thank the supporters of KFCO Beerschot Wilrijk for their unconditional support during the past years, without which the club would never have caught my attention. DCA and I are both convinced that the magic and culture of a club lies in the involvement of its supporters, so we look forward to contributing our share so that the supporters remain proud of our club."

Van Winckel, a former Beerschot assistant manager, said: "Returning to the Kiel evokes many beautiful memories for me."

The news will no doubt evoke fresh speculation about Prince Abdullah's future at Bramall Lane. On Monday evening, at a talk at the University of Sheffield, McCabe admitted United need to attract equity to fund a promotion push and when asked if that could happen soon, he replied: "Perhaps. We need an ownership structure that works."