United’s Ownership Decision Nears

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Manchester United Takeover: Sir Jim Ratcliffe and Sheikh Jassim in the Race

The battle for Manchester United has been a thrilling ride. Notably, two high-profile personalities, Sir Jim Ratcliffe and Sheikh Jassim, are in the tight contest for the ownership of the club. According to Miguel Delaney in The Independent an announcement regarding the favoured bidder may be expected as early as the end of this week, signalling a significant step in a seemingly endless series of milestones.

Despite the anticipation, the announcement comes later than expected, adding another layer of intrigue to the process. Inside sources have hinted at cautious optimism in the INEOS camp, the deal under the banner of Sir Jim Ratcliffe, maintaining a high valuation, higher than that of Qatar. Sheikh Jassim’s bid, having arrived with a splash after the final bid deadline, was a notable improvement over the third offer but did not decisively topple Ratcliffe’s bid.

Tug of War Between INEOS and Qatar

While the fourth offer brought an unexpected turn of events, some insiders view it as a concession to the surprisingly low third bid. The move, however, led to a degree of discomfort within the Qatar camp, contributing to somewhat strained relations. Yet, this emotional turbulence is seen as secondary to the compelling power of hard numbers, which will ultimately decide the fate of the club.

The tale of this takeover battle is not just about who bids higher, but also about which bid is “cleaner”. Both Ratcliffe and Jassim assert the superiority of their offers from unique angles. INEOS puts forward the claim that their bid, void of state ownership complications, would not involve as tedious a journey through the Owners and Directors test.

Conversely, Jassim’s party, while insisting on the privacy of their bid, is widely believed to be backed by Qatar. This argument becomes even more compelling amidst the increasing concerns among other Premier League clubs about state ownership, accentuated by the controversy surrounding Manchester City and Newcastle United.

State Ownership Concerns and Implications

If Qatar emerged as the preferred bidder, it is predicted to be met with resistance from at least 17 Premier League clubs, hinting at a potential uproar in the league. Simultaneously, Jassim’s faction contends that their offer, aimed at a complete buy-out of the Glazers’ shares, can be negotiated more quickly.

All eyes are now on the looming announcement, expected to provide clarity to this tense situation. As the week draws to a close, bidders and spectators alike await with bated breath, hoping that Friday brings news that may signal the dawn of a new era at Manchester United.


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