The race to buy Manchester United reached a new stage on Wednesday night as the latest deadline in the process came and went.
The Glazer family confirmed back in November a willingness to consider ‘strategic alternatives’ for the club they have owned since 2005, including the possibility of a full takeover.
Qatari banker Sheikh Jassim bin Hamad Al Thani and INEOS chief Sir Jim Ratcliffe have been the two frontrunners as the only two to go public with full takeover bids. Support for one or the other has been massively divided among fans on social media eagerly awaiting updates.
There is other interest too. However, many are for a minority stake in the club.
Overall, United officials have met with multiple suitors this month. That included a delegation representing Sheikh Jassim, while Ratcliffe personally made the trip to Old Trafford.
90min understands that improved bids from both Sheikh Jassim and Sir Jim Ratcliffe have been submitted, with each in excess of £5bn – such a figure eclipses the current world record paid for a sports team, set when the Denver Broncos were bought for $4.65bn (£3.75bn) last year. The eventual sale price for Chelsea was £2.5bn, with an additional £1.75bn pledged for investment.
Sources have previously confirmed to 90min that the Glazers have been holding out for £6bn.
Ratcliffe said just this week he would not be pressured into paying over the odds.
“The bid plans to return the Club to its former glories both on and off the pitch, and – above all – will seek to place the fans at the heart of Manchester United Football Club once more,” a statement issued on his behalf upon his opening bid last month explained.
“The bid will be completely debt free via Sheikh Jassim’s Nine Two Foundation, which will look to invest in the football teams, the training centre, the stadium and wider infrastructure, the fan experience and the communities the Club supports.
“The vision of the bid is for Manchester United Football Club to be renowned for footballing excellence, and regarded as the greatest football club in the world.”
“We would see our role as the long-term custodians of Manchester United on behalf of the fans and the wider community,” a statement from INEOS read when Ratcliffe’s initial bid was confirmed.
“We are ambitious and highly competitive and would want to invest in Manchester United to make them the number one club in the world once again.
“We also recognise that football governance in this country is at a crossroads. We would want to help lead this next chapter, deepening the culture of English football by making the club a beacon for a modern, progressive, fan-centred approach to ownership.
“We want a Manchester United anchored in its proud history and roots in the North-West of England, putting the Manchester back into Manchester United and clearly focusing on winning the Champions League.”
On this edition of The Promised Land, part of the 90min podcast network, Scott Saunders and Rob Blanchette discuss why Harry Kane would be a better signing for Man Utd than Napoli marksman Victor Osimhen. If you can’t see this embed, click here to listen to the podcast!