Sheikh Jassim has reportedly won the race to become the new owner of Manchester United in what will be a £6bn deal – with a date set for when the Glazer family’s 18-year reign will end.
United were first put up for sale by their American owners last November. But the process of finding the club’s next owners has proved a long and arduous one.
Indeed, both Sheikh Jassim, who fronts a Qatari consortium, and Sir Jim Ratcliffe’s company Ineos, have led the bidding and have been battling it out for supremacy.
It was hoped any takeover would be done in time for the end of last season and to ensure manager Erik ten Hag had a clearer idea of what funds he would have at his disposal.
However, the Dutchman has had to contend himself with the Glazer family’s £175m transfer budget – plus anything extra generated by player sales – which at this moment in time has been spent up.
The Qatari was always the more favoured it seemed. Their plan included buying United outright for a £6bn package. They also planned to invest in a stadium expansion and the surrounding areas. Plenty of funds would be put into team rebuilding too, with fanciful multi-million links emerging for several elite players.
Ratcliffe’s offer was reportedly worth £5.5bn, but offered to keep the Glazer family as minority stakeholders.
However, finally some nine months, the end is finally in sight, writes The Sun.
And they claim a deal to finalise the takeover has been set for mid-October.
The 100 per cent sale of the club by the Glazers will be warmly welcomed by United fans, who have long-protested their reign in charge. But the Florida-based family will make an unbelievable profit, having seen their father, Malcolm, buy United for just £790m in 2005.
Man Utd close on Vlachodimos deal; Sheikh Jassim to wipe out debts
The good news for United is that the £500m debts racked up by the Glazers will be instantly wiped out and paid off in full by Sheikh Jassim and Co.
And by making United instantly in the black, the club’s financial burdens – and subsequent FFP restrictions – will also lift as a result.
The good news keeps coming too for United with the club also closing in on a fifth signing of the summer.
Having already brought in Mason Mount, Andre Onana, Rasmus Hojlund and free agent Jonny Evans, Ten Hag wants to end the window with at least two more signings.
Next up, the club are closing in on the signing of Benfica goalkeeper Odysseas Vlachodimos.
He has been identified as the club’s preferred No 2 with Dean Henderson in talks with two Premier League sides.
And the Greece keeper has already said yes over a move to United and an approach from Ten Hag.
Now United just need to finalise an arrangement with the Portuguese outfit over his fee, with Fabrizio Romano confirming an agreement is now entering the ‘final conditions’ stage.
Vlachodimos comes with a wealth of experience, having been with Benfica since 2018 and having clocked up 224 appearances for the club. Thirty-two of those games have come in Champions League, meaning United will be landing themselves an elite No 2 as back-up for Onana.
But Ten Hag wants that level of competition in his squad and feels the presence of a solid back-up will ensure Onana stays at his very best for United. And if the need came to rotate his keepers, Ten Hag knows he would have a more-than-adequate back-up in place in Vlachidomos.
His signing will likely pave the way for Henderson’s transfer greenlight, ending the 26-year-old’s Old Trafford career after 29 appearances over some eight years.