Erik ten Hag is likely to learn in the next six weeks what his budget for the January transfer window will be amid claims that the Glazers are likely to stall on their sale of Manchester United in a move that will have serious implications on his chances of making at least one major signing.
The hugely-unpopular Glazer family put Manchester United up for sale last November in a move that was hoped would end their 18-year ownership of the club. With their now deceased father Malcolm Glazer having paid just £790m for the Red Devils back in 2005, his sons – and current custodians, Joel and Avram Glazer, were reportedly seeking a hefty profit on their father’s investment.
However, despite two main bidders coming to the fore in Sir Jim Ratcliffe and Sheikh Jassim, United are still no nearer being sold some 11 months down the line.
Sir Jim and INEOS’ offer was reportedly worth some £5.5bn, with a promise to keep the Glazers as minority shareholders. The Qatari bid – fronted by Sheikh Jassim, and considered the favourite – is worth a similar amount but also plans to wipe out the club’s estimated £500m debts.
However, despite a series of restructured offers, raised bids and fresh tactics, the Glazers are still to accept either bid. Furthermore, worrying claims recently claimed they were upping their demands to nearer £10bn, leading to Gary Neville launching into a venomous jibe at the Glazers’ ownership.
With a resolution still no nearer, football takeover expert Ben Jacobs has shed new light on the saga and has revealed that the Glazers will remain at the Old Trafford helm for the January window if there is no resolution to the sale beyond November.
Glazers set to remain in charge at Man Utd for January window
Revealing the latest on the saga, Jacobs claims there will be some clarity on the direction of the takeover by late November.
However, even if a takeover is announced, it will take a minimum of four to six weeks for the potential new owners to fully complete the paperwork. As a result, and if the Glazers decide to delay the sale any longer, it is highly likely the unpopular Americans will still be in control at Man Utd for the January transfer window.
Furthermore, both Sir Jim Ratcliffe and Sheikh Jassim, while still fully behind their bids to take over at Old Trafford, are beginning to get annoyed by the ongoing delays to the saga. And while there is no signs that either will withdraw their offers, nor are they prepared to up their proposals any further.
To that end, both parties accept that it will ultimately get done when the Glazers decide the time is right for the sale to go through.
However, with Ratcliffe proposing to just buy a stake in the club rather than complete a full-scale takeover, it is said that Sheikh Jassim and Co will indeed withdraw their offer if a total buy-out option is removed from the table.
Ten Hag transfer plans at Man Utd put on ice
The biggest loser in the saga, of course, is United manager Ten Hag, who has had to wait patiently over two transfer windows already to see what budget he will have at his disposal.
Indeed, while he was backed with £175m worth of new players over the summer by the Glazers, it was not to the level that Sheikh Jassim would be able to propose, with his promise to clear up the club’s debts helping ease FFP limitations at Old Trafford.
As a result, Ten Hag will likely see his hopes for the January window torpedoed if the Glazers delay their sale plans any longer than late November.
The United boss is desperate to add another centre-half to his mix, having strongly been linked with three defenders during the winter window.
However, deals for his top targets in Edmond Tapsoba, Jean-Clair Todibo and Antonio Silva would not come cheap anyway. Furthermore, and certainly in the case of both Bayer Leverkusen with Tapsoba and for Nice with Todibo, both clubs were wholly opposed to their sales in the January window anyway.
That said, a United backed by the cash of Sheikh Jassim could have at least posed the question and put forwards sizeable bids that could have tested the resolve of either club.
Conversations around Silva are somewhat strategically different given the defender has a huge £103.4m exit clause in his deal.
Either way, with the Glazers looking likely at this stage to retain control of United for the January window, Ten Hag will know that any slim chances he had of those signings would be as good as over.