Man Utd takeover: Stalling Glazers ‘worry’ Ten Hag as Prem rivals enter talks for €100m Sheikh Jassim target

Neymar, Kylian Mbappe, Paris Saint-Germain, October 2022

Neymar and Kylian Mbappe celebrate goal for Paris Saint-Germain

The ongoing delay to finalise the Manchester United takeover looks likely to cost prospective owner Sheikh Jassim the chance to sign a dream target in a €100m deal.

United’s long-standing owners, the Glazers, put the club up for sale all the way back in November. Following a long-winded process, two would-be contenders have been shortlisted in Sheikh Jassim and Sir Jim Ratcliffe.

The Qatari investment is reportedly worth a whopping £6bn – and also promises to wipe out the club’s reported £500m debt. In addition, lavish funds for transfers will also be provided, as well as further redevelopment of Old Trafford and surrounding areas.

The INEOS group, led by Britain’s second wealthiest man, Ratcliffe, is reportedly worth £5.5bn. Under his proposal, Joel and Avram Glazer will walk away with £1bn apiece and still retain a minority stake.

However, the Raine Group, who are handling the sale, are still to make clear their preferred bidder in the process.

Despite that, reports are growing that the Sheikh Jassim backed group will soon win the day.

And to further enhance their chances, there seems to have been something of a smear campaign aimed at undermining Ratcliffe’s efforts. To that end, a prominent player from Nice – whom INEOS also own – has spoken out in the media to question their credentials.

That said, the saga continues to drag out with no sign of a resolution in sight.

And that will come as enormous frustration for Erik ten Hag. The Dutchman, understandably, is eager to learn exactly what his budget for the summer transfer window will be.

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Man Utd takeover saga worrying Ten Hag

To that end, a number of deals have been lined up in the form of Mason Mount and Kim Min-jae.

But clarification over how much United will have to spend exactly remains to be seen. And it will continue to stay on hold until the preferred candidate can finalise the takeover deal.

Per ESPN, United are pushing ahead with a deal to sign Mount, despite ongoing doubts.

That transfer has been given the green light by the Glazers, though ‘initial enquiries have prompted concerns about Chelsea’s valuation’. That is currently said to stand at £70m, with United believing a deal of around £55m is more realistic.

And while there remains ‘optimism that a deal can be done’, Ten Hag ‘is growing concerned about the rest of his summer transfer plans, in part because he remains in the dark about how much money is available for new players’.

The report adds: ‘Sources have told ESPN that both Ratcliffe and Sheikh Jassim have senior management teams in place if their offers are accepted but any transition is likely to take time. The next step would be for Raine Group, the merchant bank working on behalf of the Glazers, to name a preferred bidder.’

Glazers trying to milk Manchester United for every penny

Football financial expert Kieran Maguire claims the Glazers are trying to squeeze as much as possible out of the takeover.

Maguire told the Stretford Paddock: “It would appear that the Glazers have turned into a bunch of hustlers. They are trying to extract a little bit more money from someone.

“Joel and Avram [Glazer] still want to have some form of control as well, so they’re trying to come up with a series of schemes that would allow them to have continuing involvement. They feel Manchester United is vastly undervalued by the markets. And therefore they want a share of any gain of value in future years.

“Why they can’t get round the table and thrash out a deal, I think is beyond most observers.”

On Ten Hag’s transfer budget, Maguire added: “The transfer window is about to open. Yes, there will be a budget because they qualified for the Champions League. Therefore money has gone into a pot for that.

“But if one of the prospective owners was hoping to spend a lot more money – and we’ve seen that happen at Newcastle, we saw that happen at City and at Chelsea and other clubs – if the deal drags on and on until we get to the wrong end of the window, then it becomes either more difficult or you get your trousers taken down in terms of the prices that selling clubs are going to be demanding.

“It becomes a seller’s market, and you end up paying premium prices. Manchester United have had that done to them too often. We saw that last summer, when a poor start to the season resulted in panic buys and paying over the odds.”

Neymar transfer slipping away for Sheikh Jassim and Man Utd

As a consequence of the ongoing delays, would-be owner Sheikh Jassim has seen Chelsea steal into the lead in his quest to sign Neymar.

The Brazilian’s future is in some doubt at PSG and reports claim Sheikh Jassim has ambitions to sign him for United.

The 31-year-old would command a fee in the region of €100m (£86.5m), though wages would be another matter altogether.

Nonetheless, PSG are open to his sale with United among those linked and Neymar himself reportedly favouring the Red Devils.

However, reports in France now claim Chelsea have stolen a march on United. And talks are seemingly underway to bring the 359-goal striker to Stamford Bridge.

The Blues have spent some £600m on new players since Todd Boehly’s takeover. And it seems another major addition is on the cards with a deal for Neymar next on the agenda.

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