The Glazer family, current owners of Manchester United, are in discussions with both parties, with Sheikh Jassim emerging as the main competitor to Ratcliffe.
Sheikh Jassim has reportedly submitted an offer of over £5 billion ($6.2 billion), while Ratcliffe’s improved bid has yet to be made public. According to the media reports Sheikh Jassim’s bid for 100% control of the club comes with a promise of significant additional funding for transfers and infrastructure. Part of the planned spending includes revamping Old Trafford Stadium and overhauling the club’s training facilities.
On the other hand, Ratcliffe, the founder of INEOS chemical company, reportedly wants a controlling stake in the club of more than 50%. This move has raised concerns among a fanbase tired of the Glazer family’s controversial reign, as they would still retain a 20% stake in the club.
The Glazers reportedly want a world record £6 billion fee for a sports club before they agree to sell Manchester United. However, this asking price raises the possibility that neither Sheikh Jassim’s nor Ratcliffe’s offers will be accepted.
Since the Glazers took over Manchester United in 2005, they have been deeply unpopular with supporters due to the debt they saddled the club with during their leveraged takeover. Private equity firms such as Elliot Investment Management and The Carlyle Group are among the parties interested in a minority stake, which could allow the Glazers to retain control and provide funding for investment in the club’s infrastructure.
Manchester United Supporters’ Trust (MUST) has called for a swift conclusion to the bidding process to allow new owners to be in place for the summer transfer window. The fans’ group is in dire need of new investment, which undoubtedly requires new ownership. United fans are believed to be planning a protest against the Glazers ahead of Sunday’s match with Aston Villa at Old Trafford.
Under the Glazers’ ownership, Manchester United has been in decline both on and off the field over the past decade. The Red Devils have not won the Premier League title since former manager Alex Ferguson retired in 2013, and their revenue has fallen behind local rivals Manchester City and Liverpool due to a lack of regular Champions League football and a failure to modernize Old Trafford.
However, under Erik ten Hag’s management this season, Manchester United is enjoying a renaissance. They ended a six-year trophy drought by lifting the League Cup in February and are set to face Manchester City in the FA Cup final on June 3.