Wednesday, September 27

Nearly five months after the Glazer family announced that Manchester United was up for sale, the club’s fans are growing increasingly impatient as the proposed sale process continues. Qatari banker Sheikh Jassim bin Hamad Al Thani and British billionaire Jim Ratcliffe are both vying to take control of the 20-time English league champions and submitted second bids last month. In addition, American investment firm Elliott Management has expressed interest in taking a minority stake and potentially providing capital to other potential buyers, with the price possibly reaching as high as $6 billion.

However, the ongoing wait to finalize a deal has supporters concerned that the club’s offseason transfer plans will be impacted, particularly at a time when manager Erik ten Hag is hoping to sign a world-class striker. Notable names linked to the club include Harry Kane and Victor Osimhen, but neither would come cheap.

Following reports that there will be a third round of bids, the Manchester United Supporters Trust expressed their concern over the continued uncertainty surrounding the club’s future ownership. “Erik needs to know what resources he has to spend so he can make the signings the club needs, and the whole management resources of the club need to be focused on supporting him in that,” the statement read. “That cannot be the case with the future ownership so unclear.”

Photo of Avram Glazer

Manchester United’s American owners announced in November 2022 that they would consider selling the club as they explored “strategic alternatives,” paving the way for their departure after years of resisting supporters’ attempts to drive them out.

Based on the public bids, Sheikh Jassim and Ratcliffe appear to be the leading contenders, with the Raine Group merchant bank handling the process. However, as the wait for a new owner continues, frustration among fans is mounting. Former United captain and now TV pundit Gary Neville expressed his frustration on Twitter, saying “Shoddy way to run a sale process. They need to get out by end of May to allow the new owner a fighting chance to impact the next transfer window and get moving!”

Sheikh Jassim, who is the chairman of Qatar Islamic Bank and the son of a former prime minister, has promised to rid the club of debt, invest in the stadium, training center, and playing squads in a bid to “return the club to its former glories both on and off the pitch.” Ratcliffe, the owner of petrochemicals giant INEOS and one of Britain’s richest people, was born in Failsworth, Greater Manchester, and has stated that he is focused on United winning the Champions League and becoming the “number one club in the world once again.”

Any new owner is also likely to have to spend in the region of $1 billion to redevelop or rebuild United’s Old Trafford stadium. “We are in dire need of new investment, which undoubtedly requires new ownership,” the supporters trust said. “Along with United fans all around the world, we are calling for this process to be concluded without further delay.”

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