After the deadline for new offers to buy the Premier League giants Man Utd had passed, the club’s owners were waiting for bids from a Qatari banker and the British billionaire Jim Ratcliffe on Thursday. Sheikh Jassim Bin Hamad Al Thani, who is in charge of Qatar Islamic Bank, and Ratcliffe, who started the huge chemicals company INEOS, are the only people who have said they want to bid.
The BBC said several other possible investors had sent in their applications by Wednesday, the deadline. No numbers have been given, but it was thought that one or more of the first bids was around £4.5 billion ($5.5 billion).
That would make Manchester United the most expensive sports team ever, even though they haven’t won the Premier League in ten years. However, it wouldn’t be as much as the £6 billion that the Glazers are said to have put on United. United’s owners said in November that they would do a strategic review and that selling the club was one of the things they were thinking about. Sheikh Jassim wants to completely control the club and return it to its “former glory.”
Man Utd owners await new proposals for Premier League giants.
Ratcliffe already owns the French team Nice. He said that his interest in United would be “purely to win things” and that the club was more of a “community asset” than a financial one. Since they took over in 2005, the Glazers have made many United fans angry by putting the club in debt. When they asked for outside investment in November, it looked like they were ready to cash out at a considerable profit.
Last week, Ratcliffe and some people from INEOS went to Old Trafford. Sheikh Jassim’s group toured the club’s stadium and training ground the next day. A Qatari purchase of United would help the Gulf state’s sports reputation after it hosted the 2022 World Cup, but it would also be controversial.
In 2021, the Saudi sovereign wealth fund bought Newcastle’s most important shares. Amnesty International has asked the Premier League to tighten its rules on ownership so that they don’t become “a chance for more sports washing.”
If Sheikh Jassim’s bid is successful, it will raise the question of whether Qatar is shifting its focus away from Paris Saint-Germain, where Lionel Messi, Neymar, and Kylian Mbappe play. In 2011, Qatari investors bought Paris Saint-Germain, where Messi, Neymar, and Mbappe are now.
United has won the Premier League three times, but not since Alex Ferguson led them to their 20th English title in his last season before he retired in 2013. But this season, under Erik ten Hag’s leadership, they are having a comeback. They won the League Cup last month, ending a six-year trophy drought.