Britain’s richest man, Sir Jim Ratcliffe, has reportedly refused to rule out a bid to buy Manchester United.
Despite the World Cup taking place in Qatar, Manchester United dominated the headlines on both the front and back pages on Tuesday following Cristiano Ronaldo’s confirmed exit and the news that the club has been put up for sale.
The Glazer family have been controversial figures at Old Trafford ever since Malcolm Glazer took full control of the club back in 2005. The American family loaded the club with debt following a heavily-leveraged takeover and have subsequently cost the club well in excess of £1 billion.
Their tenure has been littered with frequent fan protests, with supporters famously getting a fixture with Liverpool postponed during the 2020/21 season following the fallout from the failed European Super League project.
Since then, Chelsea have been sold for £4.25 billion and Liverpool have also been put on the market by owners Fenway Sports Group. The Glazers announced on Tuesday their willingness to sell United, appointing the Raine group to facilitate any potential takeover.
It has been reported that the Americans would be willing to sell the club for a figure in excess of £5 billion, with attentions understandably turning to who could potentially take control of the club.
Chelsea weren’t short of offers when they came on the market earlier this year and it is expected that United will attract significant interest too.
One man who made a bid to buy Chelsea was Sir Jim Ratcliffe, the CEO of petrochemicals company, Ineos. The company already has several sporting investments, including owning Ligue 1 club, OGC Nice.
He was unsuccessful in his bid to buy Chelsea having made an offer after the formal deadline, though he has since revealed discussions with the Glazers about his interest in buying his boyhood club, Manchester United.
“I met with Joel and Avram, and they are the nicest people, and they don’t want to sell it,” he told the Financial Times last month. “If it had been for sale in the summer, yes, we would probably have had a go, following on from the Chelsea thing. But we can’t sit around hoping one day Manchester United will become available.”
Ineos swiftly ruled out making a move to buy Liverpool last month, citing a lack of value at the top end of the Premier League, though according to the Telegraph, they have ‘declined to comment’ when asked about a potential move for the Old Trafford outfit.
The report also says that Qatar Sports Investments – owners of PSG – have ‘categorically ruled out any interest in United’ amid their continued commitment to the French champions.
Sky Sports have reported that it is ‘expected’ that United are sold to a US investment group.
See also – Five of the biggest World Cup shocks ever