The last-ditch offer submitted by Sheikh Jassim Bin Hamad Al Thani to buy Manchester United is facing rejection from the Glazer family, according to the latest reports.
The future of the Red Devils remains shrouded in mystery as the race to buy-out the Glazers shows no signs of reaching a conclusion. The Florida-based Glazer family bought the club for a mere £790m back in 2005 and are seemingly ready to sell for a hugely-inflated fee.
And with the club put up for sale, or at least made open to investment, last year, two main bidders have emerged from the pack.
Indeed, both Sheikh Jassim, the chairman of Qatar Islamic Bank and the son of a former Qatari prime minister, and his rival Sir Jim Ratcliffe, submitted what was expected to be third and final bids last month.
However, with neither deal accepted, the two parties have since come back in with increased ‘fourth and final’ offers.
Sources close to the Qatari group claim the latest offer 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, the group also plans to clear United’s debts, currently said to total some £500m.
The offer – a full takeover bid – is reportedly said to be ‘final’.
Ratcliffe’s bid, meanwhile, values the club at nearer £6bn, though is apparently for a reduced stake, thus allowing the Glazers to retain a share.
As a result, talkSPORT understands both Joel and Avram Glazer reportedly prefer Ratcliffe’s INEOS group offer. As such, they can keep a portion of United going forwards, should that be the accepted proposal.
Sir Jim Ratcliffe tipped to succeed with Man Utd takeover bid
And while no preferred bidder has been identified by the Raine Group, who are handling the sales process, it is thought the Glazers’ intervention will see Sheikh Jassim rejected and Ratcliffe prevail.
Any such decision, however, is likely to not appease everyone.
United fans have made clear their desire for a full buy-out from the Glazers, who have been unpopular right from the start. And while many might prefer the Ratcliffe bid to Sheikh Jassim on a one-to-one measure, the fact that Ratcliffe is open to keeping the Glazers involved will not please all.
Nonetheless, the process will hopefully conclude in the coming weeks with the all parties waiting on a final answer.
Should Ratcliffe’s group prevail, the Red Devils will fall under the ownership of Britain’s second wealthiest man.
They won’t, however, be the first football club he has owned. Indeed, his INEOS group already owns French side Nice and Swiss outfit FC Lausanne-Sport.
However, not everyone is convinced by the skillset offered by Ratcliffe and INEOS and the way in which they run clubs.
In particular, Emmanuel Petit has been less than enthused by the way they have run Ligue 1 side Nice.
Discussing their management, and in a direct warning to United, the former Arsenal star made his feelings clear.
Ratcliffe slammed by Emmanuel Petit
“Since INEOS arrived in Nice, I don’t know who makes the decisions,” he told Foot01.
“I don’t know where they want to go. I don’t know what they want to do with this club, especially since with Manchester United behind us. We don’t know if they’re going to pull out overnight.
“That’s what puzzles me, actually. A group like INEOS, which manages 17,000 people around the world and has a turnover of 80bn, is not even capable of managing a club like Nice at the moment and having a clear and defined strategy.
“When you take the best sporting director, Ghisolfi at Lens, who made miracles on the transfer market with three francs and six pennies.
“You see today that he is in total disagreement with what we are trying to impose on him concerning the extension of certain players like [Aaron] Ramsey.
“Who is making the decisions? Mr. Ratcliffe, Mr. Blanc, Mr. Rivère, whose silence has been deafening for the past few weeks regarding the affairs. He told us in February: You’ll see, we’ll give you the name of the future coach in February.
“It’s the end of May and we still don’t know what’s going to happen at Nice. The market coming up quickly. The direction that INEOS and OGC Nice want to take, I have no idea!”
One interested spectator will be United manager Erik ten Hag, who still awaits clarification on what his summer budget will be.
He hopes to bring in a minimum of three major signings this summer with the takeover saga impacting those plans.
And with a new striker, midfielder and defender in mind, Ten Hag will hoping for some answers quickly.