Manchester United Football Club has been for sale for some time. The biggest interest is shown by Qatari Sheikh Jassim and British billionaire Jim Ratcliffe. But the current owners are in a comfortable position to sell the club well above the realistic price.
The current owners of Manchester United better not even talk about Manchester United in front of the club’s fans. The Glazer family is a symbol of Manchester United’s sporting decline among the fan community.
For the past few years Manchester United has been staggering in place while the competition has moved forward. After all, the last league title won by this popular club was less than a decade ago.
Moreover, there is a lack of investment in the stadium, which is not in the best shape. Even the training facilities deserve to be improved. However, the current owners are probably allergic to the word investment, and they take several million pounds in dividends out of the club every year.
Although sportingly times are looking up, selling the club to the right owner who would be willing to invest massively in the club could finally return the Red Devils to the limelight. So who is among the interested buyers?
A Qatari sheikh
Qatar Islamic Bank chairman Sheikh Jassim is one of the most serious bidders for the club. He is planning to buy 100% of the club’s shares and also wants to invest massively in the club’s infrastructure. Both the stadium and the training centre.
Experts, however, fear a possible conflict of interest with the French club PSG, which also has a Qatari owner. According to UEFA regulations, it is not possible for one entity to control multiple clubs at the same time in the organisation’s competitions. Paris Saint Germain is owned by Qatar Sports Investments, but it is partly linked to Qatar Islamic Bank through PSG owner Nasser Al-Khelaifi.
The Manchester billionaire
Jim Ratcliffe was born in the suburbs of Manchester. He is the head of INEOS, the world’s fourth largest chemical company. Jim Ratcliffe already owns the French club Nice and the Swiss club Lausanne-Sport. His company is also a partner of the Mercedes Formula One team.
So the 70-year-old Englishman is no newcomer to the sport. He was interested in the club before it was even up for sale. According to him, he wants to return to the top with Manchester United and at the same time attack the Champions League trophy.
A record sale
In the sporting scene, it is quite common in recent years for a club’s owner to change hands, especially when the price is favourable for the selling party. The Glazer family entered Manchester United back in 2005 when they bought the club for a then astronomical £800 million.
But the investment has clearly paid off. Despite a very negative attitude from fans, who criticise the owners for only caring about the financial and not the sporting side of the club, the Glazer family have put the current price tag on the club at around $7-9 billion. Experts believe that this price tag is too steep and that some sort of compromise will have to be made.
For perspective, Roman Abramovich sold Chelsea a year ago for $3 billion. The highest amount ever paid for a sports club was equivalent to $3.75 billion. It was for the Denver Broncos, an American NFL club. At that time, it was taken care of by a group of investors led by Rob Walton, among others, the owner of the US hypermarket chain Walmart.
Source: Sky Sports, CNN
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