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European Super League explainer: Who are the Big Six, what are they worth and how much do they owe?

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Manchester City and Manchester United are at the centre of a breakaway European Super League. Photo: Peter Powell/PA Wire

Manchester City and Manchester United are at the centre of a breakaway European Super League. Photo: Peter Powell/PA Wire

Manchester City and Manchester United are at the centre of a breakaway European Super League. Photo: Peter Powell/PA Wire

In total, 12 clubs have so far agreed to join as founding members of the European Super League, with three more expected to also sign up, which will eventually feature 20 teams as an annual midweek competition set to rival the Champions League.

Here, we look at the six Premier League clubs who are pushing for a European Super League - who their owners are, how much they owe and their other business interests.

ARSENAL

Value: €2.4billion

Ownership: Kroenke Sports & Entertainment (USA)

Estimated debt: €467million

Arsenal were historically known as one of the worst clubs in England for penny pinching but the days of the Hill-Wood family ownership, who would quibble with star players like Liam Brady over a £10 a week pay rise, ended when Stan Kroenke, a US-based sports tycoon, began to take over in 2007 and his hold on the club was strengthened in 2018 when he bought out the shares of Alisher Usmanov, leaving Kronke with 90% of shares.

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Arsenal Owner Stan Kroenke. Photo: Nick Potts/PA

Arsenal Owner Stan Kroenke. Photo: Nick Potts/PA

Arsenal Owner Stan Kroenke. Photo: Nick Potts/PA

Kronke has interests in sports far beyond the red and white shirt of the Gunners, with investments in American football (LA Rams), basketball (Denver Nuggets), hockey (Colorado Avalanche) and even lacrosse, also a link with MLS outfit Colorado Rapids.

CHELSEA

Value: €2.6billion

Ownership: Roman Abramovich (Russia)

Estimated debt: €224m

We are coming close to the 20-year anniversary of the takeover of the club by Russian magnate Roman Abramovic, whose petrodollars transformed a club who were playing in England's second tier, following relegation, as recently as 1989, though they were back in the top flight in time to become one of the founder members of the Premiership in 1992.

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Chelsea owener Roman Abramovich. Photo: BEN STANSALL/AFP/Getty Images

Chelsea owener Roman Abramovich. Photo: BEN STANSALL/AFP/Getty Images

Chelsea owener Roman Abramovich. Photo: BEN STANSALL/AFP/Getty Images

The price tag for the sale by Ken Bates in 2003, just £140m, seems like a pittance now, though he also took on some heavy debts. A link with Dutch side Vitesse Arnhem has given Chelsea a stage for their players to play on loan, something they need: right now, 31 Chelsea players are on loan to other clubs.

LIVERPOOL

Value: €3.4billion

Ownership: Fenway Sports Group (USA)

Estimated debt: €445m

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Liverpool left English ownership in 2007 when American businessmen George Gillett and Tom Hicks bought the club for a reported €250 million, the price rising to €346m when Fenway Group then took over in 2010, and by 2018 the club were valued at €2 billion by Forbes.

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Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp (left) shakes hands with club owner John W. Henry after winning the Champions League Final (Mike Egerton/PA)

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp (left) shakes hands with club owner John W. Henry after winning the Champions League Final (Mike Egerton/PA)

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp (left) shakes hands with club owner John W. Henry after winning the Champions League Final (Mike Egerton/PA)

With John Henry as the figurehead Fenway, who were associated with Fulham before they set their eyes on Anfield, see Liverpool as the main European arm of their consortium, along with the Boston Red Sox but they have interests in NASCAR racing.
The club came in for widespread criticism, worldwide but most importantly in Liverpool itself, when they tried to furlough staff in the early stages of the pandemic last year, only to reverse the decision.

MANCHESTER CITY

Value: €3.3billion

Ownership: City Football Group (Abu Dhabi)

Estimated debt: €233m

City were transformed by the 2008 takeover by Sheikh Mansour, who paid an initial €240m for the club but it's estimated he and his family in the UAE have invested over €1 billion into the club, bringing domestic success but, to their great frustration, no Champions League title.

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Manchester City owner Sheikh Mansour waves to supporters at his only Etihad appearance eight years ago CREDIT: ACTION IMAGES

Manchester City owner Sheikh Mansour waves to supporters at his only Etihad appearance eight years ago CREDIT: ACTION IMAGES

Manchester City owner Sheikh Mansour waves to supporters at his only Etihad appearance eight years ago CREDIT: ACTION IMAGES

While rival clubs, particularly Chelsea, kept their focus on local issues, the City Football Group wanted Man City to be a truly global brand and they have interests in clubs in the USA, Australia, India, Japan, Spain, Uruguay, China, Belgium and France, partly to help develop players with loan spells (Donegal man Fergal Harkin oversees the club's loan players, an important role for Harkin who is now one of the most influential Irishmen in European football off the field) but also establish the City brand.

MANCHESTER UNITED

Value: €3.4billion

Ownership: The Glazer family (USA)

Estimated debt: €890m

If United fans who thought that prospective owner Michael Knighton juggling the ball, in full United kit, before the Stretford End was embarrassing, they now shudder at the impact that the Glazer family have had at the club since they began their bid for ownership in 2003, an initial investment of just €10m laying down the groundwork for what would become a complete takeover.

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Manchester United joint chairmen Joel Glazer (right) and Avram Glazer (left). The Glazer family have been in charge of the club since 2005 (Martin Rickett/PA)

Manchester United joint chairmen Joel Glazer (right) and Avram Glazer (left). The Glazer family have been in charge of the club since 2005 (Martin Rickett/PA)

Manchester United joint chairmen Joel Glazer (right) and Avram Glazer (left). The Glazer family have been in charge of the club since 2005 (Martin Rickett/PA)

By 2005 they had bought out the shares owned by JP McManus and John Magnier, and the takeover was complete but the money used to take control had been borrowed from a New York hedge fund and debts piled up, by 2010 the debts had reached €720m. One of the few public comments from Joel Glazer came on Sunday, welcoming the Super League. The Glazers have owned Tampa Bay Buccaneers since 1995.

TOTTENHAM

Value: €1.6billion

Ownership: ENIC Group (British)

Estimated debt: €1.1b

The only member of the so-called Big Six to be in British hands, Spurs are controlled by Daniel Levy, delisted from the stock market in 2012 once Levy and his ENIC group had full control and Levy recently celebrated the 20th anniversary of his arrival as chairman.

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Tottenham Hotspur chairman Daniel Levy. Photo: Julian Finney/Getty Images

Tottenham Hotspur chairman Daniel Levy. Photo: Julian Finney/Getty Images

Tottenham Hotspur chairman Daniel Levy. Photo: Julian Finney/Getty Images

Spurs fans are less willing to celebrate Levy, whose reputation as a world-class deal maker peaked with the sale of Gareth Bale to Real Madrid but has since declined, as Spurs remain without a league title in six decades and despite flurries of near-success are no closer to landing the Champions League, and Monday's sacking of Jose Mourinho is another decision where the costs - compensation for Mourinho and his staff - will further eat into the cash reserves of the most heavily indebted club in England.

AND THE EUROPEAN SIX?

AC MILAN

Owners: Elliott Management Corporation (USA)

Lived on past glories for some time. Spent only two seasons outside Serie A since formation but overtaken by Italian rivals in recent years. Absent from the Champions League since 2013-14 and in the Europa League for the last three seasons. Improved this year and second in Serie A.

ATLETICO MADRID

Owners: Miguel Angel Gil Marin, Idan Ofer, Enrique Cerezo (Spain)

Muscled in on the big boys with eight successive seasons of Champions League football under Diego Simeone. But spent only one season in Europe's main competition between 1978 and 2008. Top of LaLiga at present.

BARCELONA

Owners: Fan-owned (Spain)

Perennial trophy winners and one of the biggest clubs in the world, with their Nou Camp home holding almost 100,000 people. Spent every season since 1955 in one or more European competition and sit third in LaLiga.

INTER MILAN

Owners: Suning Holdings Group (China)

Italy's top team this season under Antonio Conte and Serie A champions elect with a nine-point lead over city rivals Milan. But little Champions League pedigree of late with only one quarter-final appearance since winning the trophy 11 years ago.

JUVENTUS

Owners: The Agnelli family (Italy)

Regular champions of Italy and claimed a ninth successive title last season. But they have slipped this year and sit 13 points adrift of Serie A leaders Inter in fourth, despite having Cristiano Ronaldo in their side.

REAL MADRID

Owners: Fan-owned (Spain)

No self-respecting European breakaway would take place without Real. The self-styled kings of European football have six more titles in the main competition than their closest challengers Milan.

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