Man Utd takeover: Liverpool old boy predicts likely winner as Sheikh Jassim preps massive fifth offer
The saga to secure ownership of Manchester United could finally reach resolution in the next 10-14 days amid claims that Sheikh Jassim Bin Hamad al Thani is planning to raise his bid for a fifth and final time.
The future of one of the world’s biggest football institutions remains shrouded in mystery as the race to buy the Glazers’ majority shareholding in the club continues.
The Americans have proved hugely unpopular owners of the club ever since buying them for just £790m back in 2005. After surviving a wave of protests over their ownership, they made the decision to finally sell up back in November.
With the Raine Group appointed to oversee offers and facilitate the potential sale, the Glazers are reportedly seeking between £6bn – £8bn for the club. Any such sale would hand them a major profit on their initial investment.
During the intervening months, two preferred bidders have come the forefront: Sir Jim Ratcliffe and Sheikh Jassim.
The two respected bidders offer the Glazers two very different outcomes depending on who they side with.
Sources close to the Qatari group behind the Sheikh Jassim offer suggest their fourth offer – made earlier this week – is worth more than £5.5bn. Within that plan, the Glazers can reportedly earn £4.8bn from the sale directly. The rest of the money is a ‘pledged investment’ into the club and local community. Furthermore, they also plan to clear United’s debts, currently said to total £500m.
Ratcliffe’s firm INEOS reportedly value the club at £6bn. However, their offer is apparently for a reduced stake, allowing the Glazers to retain a minority stake.
As a result, a report earlier this week claimed the Ratcliffe bid for United will likely prevail.
Man Utd takever: Sheikh Jassim bid to succeed
That would net United’s majority shareholders, Avram and Joel Glazer, a staggering £1bn payment each.
However, despite reports that the INEOS bid is set to win the day, confirmation has not yet been forthcoming.
Now former Liverpool striker Stan Collymore has spoken out on the saga and claims the Glazers are using Ratcliffe’s approach. And he reckons INEOS are being used as a pawn to milk even more cash from the Qatari bid.
Writing in his Caught Offside column, Collymore said: “Man United will be expecting to make some big-name signings but there is huge uncertainty surrounding who the club’s next owners will be.
“In my opinion, although it’s turned into a bit of a circus, it’s quite straightforward. The Glazers know Sheikh Jassim can pay pretty much whatever he wants and Sir Jim Ratcliffe can’t. So they’re using Sir Jim as a way to force Jassim into upping his offer in order to get as much as they can before they sail off into the sunset. Hopefully are never heard of again.
“If Man United is sold, I am sure it’ll be to Qatari owners. The biggest problem could be the time in which it happens though.
“[Erik] Ten Hag needs a resolution in place as soon as possible. The longer this goes on, the longer its going to take his plans for next season to get into motion.”
Qataris plan fifth and final bid
A decision, however, should not be long now in the making. As such, reports claiming a verdict could be decided once the current season ends. Indeed, United’s final fixture of the 2022/23 campaign will be on Saturday June 3 in the FA Cup final.
According to The Athletic, Sheikh Jassim is now plotting a fifth and final bid for United to finally win the race.
And rather than dealing with the Raine Group, Sheikh Jassim has now spoken directly to the Glazers to try and get a deal over the line. The feedback on his fourth offer is, however, still awaited and that will dictate whether another new offer will be launched.
However, it’s claimed that there is a growing belief within Qatar that Sheikh Jassim’s offer will prevail.
And under that plan, the Glazers will depart Old Trafford for good, but to what cost?
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