Khashoggi disappearance: US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo heads to in Riyadh

United have been owned by the Glazer family for more than a decade

A Turkish diplomatic source said it was expected that the search, to be conducted jointly with Saudi authorities, would "take place towards the evening".

Khashoggi, a Saudi national and USA resident who has been a vocal press critic of Saudi Prince Mohammed bin Salman, has not been seen since entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 2.

If United's current owners were to sell the club, it would cost the Saudis more than £3bn - but there is a chance that the crown prince could instead just buy a portion.

Trump called Khashoggi's disappearance a "terrible situation".

A cleaning crew walked into the consulate hours ahead of the investigative team's arrival. Until now, Riyadh has not allowed Turkish investigators to search the consulate - officially Saudi territory - with reports both sides were at odds over the conditions.

The US president later appeared to suggest that "rogue elements" within the Saudi state may be behind Khashoggi's alleged murder.

But in the wake of Khashoggi's disappearance, many media and entertainment companies have been distancing themselves from the kingdom.

Saudi Arabia, however, firmly denies any involvement in his disappearance.

The decision to dispatch Pompeo signals how much the crisis over the fate of Khashoggi, a Saudi citizen and USA resident who wrote critically of the kingdom's leaders, is threatening to damage USSaudi relations.

Trump tweeted Monday that he had spoken with Saudi King Salman, "who denies any knowledge" of what happened to Khashoggi. Trump said he didn't "want to get into (Salman's) mind", but told reporters: "it sounded to me like maybe these could have been rogue killers". And on Sunday, Britain, France and Germany released a joint statement expressing "grave concern" about Khashoggi's case and calling for a "credible investigation".

Federica Mogherini, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, also called for transparent cooperation between the two affected nations. Mogherini told reporters in Luxembourg that she will raise the issue at the upcoming EU Foreign Affairs Council meeting.

Mr Trump said King Salman of Saudi Arabia strongly denied that the kingdom had any connection to the missing journalist, whose writings were often highly critical of the ruling royal family, reports the New York Post.

The statement said the Saudi government "also affirms that if it receives any action, it will respond with greater action", noting that its economy, as the world's biggest oil exporter, "has an influential and vital role in the global economy".

The Arabic-language daily Okaz wrote a headline on Monday in English warning: "Don't Test Our Patience".

Either a family friend, a Saudi-owned company or the state's sovereign wealth fund could bid for the Glazer family's private shares in the club valued at nearly £3billion, the report said.

"The Board of Governors has made a decision to decline any funding from the Saudi government and to keep the matter under active review pending the outcome of the investigation into the case of Mr. Jamal Khashoggi", the group said Monday in a statement to BuzzFeed News.

Last week, USA lawmakers triggered a human rights law to compel Trump to investigate Kashoggi's disappearance and determine appropriate sanctions against people involved in potential wrongdoing.

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