Sports writer Aiman Fariz Zaqwan Bin Akmal Hizam discusses the stakeholds being purchased by Sir Ratcliffe and Ineos.
Since the retirement of Sir Alex Ferguson in 2013, a segment of United supporters has been consistently calling for a change in the club’s ownership. The Red Devils has faced challenges in securing a Premier League title and have experienced limited success in European competitions, notably since the 2017 Europa League Final. Additionally, in a 2022 poll, only 4% of fans expressed satisfaction with the Glazers’ management. This has led to a bidding war for the takeover of Manchester United, which has been an ongoing saga since late November 2022, with two sides actively engaged in the bidding rounds: Sir Jim Ratcliffe and Sheikh Jassim.
According to Italian sports journalist Fabrizio Romano on YouTube and X, Sheikh Jassim Al-Thani and his Qatari group have made an offer to acquire 100% ownership of the club. Their objective is to restore the club to its former glory, both on and off the field, while ensuring that the bid is entirely debt-free. This commitment means they will clear all past debts of the club. Additionally, the Qatari group has declared their intention to make substantial investments in various areas, including transfer windows, training facilities, infrastructure, Old Trafford stadium improvements, the youth academy and the acquisition of top talents. The Qatari royal have made four proposals to the club since February this year, but his fifth and most recent bid saw a ‘fully cash bid’ of around 5.8 billion pounds for a 100% acquisition of the club. However, it was understood that the deal was rejected by the Glazers family, the current owner of Manchester United, who valued the club at around six to seven billion pounds. In response, Sheikh Jassim’s team announced that they had no intention to increase their proposal any further and have subsequently withdrawn from the bidding process.
The only option left on the table is the bid from Sir Jim Ratcliffe and his group, Ineos. Initially, Ratcliffe intended to purchase all of the Glazers’ 67% shareholding, but later presented a new proposal of £1.3 billion to acquire a 25% minority stake in the club. This deal would grant Sir Jim Ratcliffe complete control over the football operations at the club, while the Glazers would retain control of the finances. Consequently, he would oversee player transfers during the transfer windows and determine whether a player is truly necessary for the squad.
Notably, Ineos, through Ratcliffe, has already formed partnerships with several teams and athletes across various sports, including New Zealand’s All Blacks in rugby and Mercedes-AMG in Formula One. Additionally, Ineos Group possesses experience in the soccer industry, as they own Ligue 1 side OGC Nice and Swiss Super League team, FC Lausanne-Sport. These partnerships have yielded success for the respective teams, and if this deal were to go through, fans could expect similar achievements for Manchester United.
Furthermore, it has been reported that Ratcliffe is also proposing the establishment of a new Manchester United football committee, consisting of himself, Joel Glazer and Sir Dave Brailsford, should his deal to acquire a 25% stake in the club be accepted.
Ratcliffe has not been quiet about his ambitions regarding the Manchester deal, and he has stated on X that he will not give up until he can lead Manchester. Ratcliffe believes he is the only one who can bring the team back to its former glory.
“My team and I will bag this win, that I can assure you. We are laying fundamental plans to ensure that our win is not only a success but also a success to all the Manchester United fans,” tweeted Ratcliffe.
Although there are no official announcements from the Glazers yet, the deal is set to be completed in the coming weeks, with important details to be finalized. Despite the deal not being a full outright sale like the fans had hoped, it is definitely a major step in the right direction. For now, Erik ten Hag will have to work with the existing resources and strive to steer the Red Devils towards a new era of success.