The Saudi prince also controls Belgian club Beerschot, Châteauroux in France, Al-Hilal and Kerala United under the United World umbrella, which United joined fully after he won sole control from former co-owner Kevin McCabe following a bitter High Court battle.
A report in The Athletic says that United World are “understood to be open to offers”, adding: “Some sources believe he may have overstretched himself, a situation not helped by the pandemic. But others say there is a simpler reason why Sheffield United are available: there can only be one English club in Saudi Arabia and that is Newcastle United.”
Like most football clubs after the devastating impact of the coronavirus pandemic on attendances and income, United have been hit hard – with relegation from the Premier League, and the ensuing significant drop in income, compounding matters further.
Although any offers that matched his valuation would likely be considered, the Prince is understood to be instead searching for partners and investors to strengthen United’s financial position.
Speaking to fan channel The Sheff United Way earlier this year, the Prince admitted that United had to sell players this summer to make up the shortfall of relegation, with Aaron Ramsdale eventually departing for Arsenal.
"We were in a position where we had to sell players," he admitted. "But I don’t think we could have said that at the beginning of the transfer window because it puts pressure on the club.
“If other clubs knew that we had to sell we wouldn’t have got as much for Ramsdale, for instance.
"We’re trying to solve this issue permanently. We’re trying as United World, not only as Sheffield United, because we want to accelerate our growth to bring some partners. We’re trying to get some more partners to make the group more strong financially.”
United did reject a bid for teenage starlet Daniel Jebbison in the summer, although they are bracing themselves for further approaches – especially if they fail to regain their Premier League status at the first attempt, with clubs higher up the football pyramid poised to exploit United’s financial position for their own gain.
Prince Abdullah made his money through a paper company he founded and even at Championship level, his net worth is dwarfed by some of his fellow club owners – some of whom, including Barnsley, Stoke City and Fulham, are controlled by owners worth billions.
United must instead effectively remain self-sustainable. Their spending spree following promotion to the Premier League was unheard of by the Blades’ historical standards, but was effectively funded by money earned from playing in the top-flight and a number of loan agreements have been reached with Australian bank Macquarie, secured on the Premier League parachute payments.
There is also a mortgage in the club’s name, taken out to allow the purchase of the club’s property assets from McCabe in the aftermath of the High Court judgement that saw the Prince gain sole control of United.