Opinion: Is Koukash trying to emulate Manchester City?
Earlier today, Salford Red Devils owner Dr Marwan Koukash publicly confirmed his interest in buying NRL strugglers Newcastle Knights.
The 55-year-old tweeted that negotiations are underway and that his focus, for now at least, is with the Red Devils, but he failed to explain what implications this potential purchase could have.
Does he plan to sell his stake in the Red Devils and leave stuck-in-its-ways Super League behind? Or does he want to run both clubs simultaneously?
No-one knows, but there is a theory knocking around that should delight Salford fans.
It basically involves Koukash taking a leaf out of Manchester City football club’s book and exploiting a loophole that will allow him to land high profile players he is unable to sign because of the salary cap.
The Premier League champions, who are owned by mega-rich Sheikh Khaldoon Khalifa Al Mubarak, were fined £49m in May for overspending on transfers and wages. Other sanctions were also put in place that could halt their progress this season.
They have cleverly worked around this by purchasing a football team in Australia and creating a new team in the USA. Both New York City and Melbourne City have made some big-name signings, including Spain’s all-time leading goal-scorer David Villa and, if reports are to be believed, England star Frank Lampard.
Many believe both teams will continue to make high profile transfers who will then be made available to the Manchester club as loanees, though this has not been admitted by the club. This will allow them to comply with the financial fair play regulations while still expanding and improving their squad.
There’s a chance, albeit a slim one, that Koukash is planning the same thing for the Knights. With the looser regulations down under he can offer big-name players larger wages at Newcastle then loan them back to himself at Salford.
This would clearly be an extravagant way of securing success for the Salford side – and if it actually is the plan, there’s no doubt the RFL would have something to say – but you certainly wouldn’t put it past him.