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Abu Dhabi group makes $354 million bid for English soccer team

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But foreign owners have not always been welcomed with open arms.

Manchester United fans were in open revolt at Mr. Glazer's takeover, which was financed with huge amounts of debt. Some clubs have become exasperated at owners' reluctance to plow money into what can be an expensive business. Many fans suspect ulterior motives: that owners are just there for the marketing potential and not for the love of the game.

Manchester City fans are excited

Still, the initial response from Manchester City fans was euphoric. Some dressed up as Arab potentates in gratitude. Others informally renamed the club's Eastlands stadium "Middle Eastlands."

"When you've been in the footballing doldrums as long as we have, when the olive branch is offered to you, you take it," says Kevin Parker of the Manchester City supporters club, with a delicious mix of metaphors so beloved of football aficionados. "It might end up choking you, but you take it."

But his reaction hints at conflicting emotions at both Manchester City and in the wider football world.

"It's obviously raised the stakes in terms of the amount of money clubs are going to need," says Rory Miller, an expert in football finance. "It's also diminishing the competitive balance in football and diminishing the amount of interest that clubs will have in training their own players."

Oil money for soccer fields

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