Prospective bidders for Manchester United could discover this week if they’ve been successful in their attempts to buy the club, according to fresh reports.
Only two offers remain on the table for the club with Sir Jim Ratcliffe, the founder and majority shareholder of Ineos, and Qatar-backed Sheikh Jassim Bin Hamad Al Thani, in the running. It was widely reported that Ratcliffe’s bid, which would see the Glazers retain a minority stake in the club, was favourite to win the battle, although an ‘11th-hour’ offer from Sheikh Jassim altered that landscape and brought the Qatari back into the running.
Both parties are believed to be waiting for a response from the Glazers and Raine, the US investment bankers who are brokering the deal on United’s behalf. It has led to uncertainty ahead of next season and led to frustration from Erik ten Hag that he has been unable to make concrete transfer plans given the lack of clarity surrounding the situation.
But the Independent report that the Ineos and Qatar delegations are ‘hopeful’ that a preferred bidder will be announced by the end of the season, perhaps even as early as this Friday.
They add there is ‘cautious optimism’ from Ratcliffe’s camp that he will emerge victorious from the race as their bid is higher than that of Sheikh Jassim. The Qatari proposal is seen as ‘competitive’ and there is a frustration in some quarters that the latest offer from Sheikh Jassim was overhyped through media links, with reports that it ‘blew Ratcliffe out of the water’ well wide of the mark.
Meanwhile, Spanish outlet El Pais recently reported that the Qatar banker was blindsided by the Glazers’ decision to up their asking price from £5.2bn to £6bn. Sheikh Jassim’s surprise even forced him to reconsider his position and the final offer was seen as a ‘take-it-or-leave-it’ bid.