Potential new owners of Manchester United, Sheikh Jassim bin Hamad Al Thani and Jim Ratcliffe, have put forth their final bids for the Premier League club, currently owned by the Glazer family.
Sheikh Jassim, in his most recent proposal, has reportedly offered in excess of £5 billion ($6.2 billion). The bid not only includes substantial funds for player transfers and facility upgrades, such as revamping Old Trafford and the club’s training grounds, but also a commitment to clear the club’s $620 million debt. This pledge is expected to be a major point of favorability among the club’s fans.
Contrarily, Jim Ratcliffe, the head of the INEOS chemical company, aims to acquire a majority stake in the club, with more than 50% ownership, leaving the Glazers with a 20% stake. This approach, however, is causing unease among fans, who have grown weary of the Glazers’ contentious stewardship.
The Glazers are believed to be holding out for a landmark £6 billion sports club sale before they part with Manchester United, suggesting that neither Sheikh Jassim’s nor Ratcliffe’s offer might be accepted.
The Glazers’ controversial takeover in 2005 has been met with a lot of criticism from fans, who are yearning for a fresh financial injection. Private equity entities such as Elliot Investment Management and The Carlyle Group are considering acquiring a minority stake, a move that could allow the Glazers to maintain control while still securing funds for club infrastructure improvements.
The Manchester United Supporters’ Trust (MUST) is pressing for a quick resolution to ensure new owners are in place ahead of the summer transfer window. A demonstration against the Glazers is in the works by the fans’ group, slated for this Sunday’s match against Aston Villa at Old Trafford.
Despite the steady downturn Manchester United has experienced on and off the pitch over the past decade under the Glazers’ ownership, there have been signs of revival this season under Erik ten Hag’s leadership. The team recently ended a six-year silverware dry spell by clinching the League Cup in February and are set to compete against Manchester City in the FA Cup final on June 3.