Manchester United takeover: Sheikh Jassim and Sir Jim Ratcliffe are still pursuing a deal for the club with the Glazers undecided over what to do.
Sir Jim Ratcliffe currently seems to be the frontrunner in the battle to buy Manchester United at the present moment in time. However, news of Sheikh Jassim having a ‘senior management team’ in place speaks volumes about the Qatari billionaire. He apparently still harbours hope of buying the club, with the Glazers yet to indicate a preferred bidder as the saga continues to rumble on.
ESPN reported on Monday morning that Sheikh Jassim and Ratcliffe both have management teams in place as they look to acquire the club.
While that’s to be expected with Ratcliffe given he’s the frontrunner to seal a takeover, it’s intriguing his rival has done the same.
Sheikh Jassim won’t want to miss out on buying United, having long insisted he’s fan of the club.
And news of the Qatari billionaire putting a team together behind the scenes suggests he’s still got every chance of succeeding.
Sheikh Jassim has made four bids for the club so far, with his latest coming nearly three weeks ago.
The Glazers are yet to respond, with relations with the Raine Group becoming increasingly tense as the saga continues to play out.
Sheikh Jassim only wants 100 per cent control of United, whereas Ratcliffe is willing to settle for the controlling shares.
That has given the INEOS chief an edge, with members of the Glazers still reluctant to sell despite the huge opposition to their rule.
Sheikh Jassim has kept a low profile throughout the process, which explains the lack of pictures of the mysterious figure online.
But there’s a sense he’ll need to play a trump card sooner or later to swing the takeover pendulum his way.
Finnish billionaire Thomas Zilliacus announced earlier in the year that he, too, was interested in securing power at United.
Yet while he’s dropped out of the race, Sheikh Jassim is still huffing and puffing as he looks to get a deal done.
Should his bid be successful, then he’ll invest in United, Old Trafford and the local community of Manchester as well.
And he’ll also give Erik ten Hag huge funds to use in the summer transfer window as well, with the 53-year-old eager to add to his squad.
The Dutchman wants a goalkeeper to provide competition for David De Gea, with the futures of Dean Henderson and Tom Heaton uncertain.
A new right-back is being targeted despite the improvement of Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Diogo Dalot this season.
Jeremie Frimpong and Denzel Dumfires, of Bayer Leverkusen and Inter Milan respectively, have emerged as potential targets.
United are keen to bolster their midfield, with Mason Mount expected to sign on the dotted line from Chelsea.
And the club are pursuing a new forward. Harry Kane, Rasmus Hojlund and Victor Osimhen are all players under consideration.
Meanwhile, though Ratcliffe is the frontrunner to buy United, football finance expert Kieran Maguire recently raised a concern with the 70-year-old.
He expressed a belief that how the INEOS chief stores his wealth could be a potential stumbling block.
“Sir Jim Ratcliffe’s wealth has never been a distractor as far as his ability to fund a takeover is concerned,” he told Football Insider.
“How his wealth is stored is a much more challenging issue – he’s unlikely to have £5-6billion of cash in a bank account given present rates of interest.
“Liquidising his assets will be much more tricky for him, should he choose to go down that particular route.
“If the acquisition is going to be done through INEOS, then I suspect that they will use a combination of existing cash resources while also going to the market to fund the purchase price.”