Manchester United owners the Glazers would be willing to negotiate a sale if somebody coughed up £9 billion ($12 billion), according to reports. The Americans have long made it clear they’re in it for the long run over at Old Trafford. Yet it appears that figure would be enough to take them to the table, though there’s no indication Sir Jim Ratcliffe or anyone else is currently capable of doing that.
Manchester United were controversially purchased by the Glazers back in 2005, with the Americans spending nearly £800 million ($887 million) on a deal.
Initially, the trophies kept coming – with Sir Alex Ferguson managing to guide the club to five Premier League titles, as well as the Champions League, in the years that followed.
However, amid United’s plight in the time since, the Glazers have become increasingly controversial. They continue to invest only what the Red Devils earn, putting none of their own money in, while they’ve also allowed Old Trafford to pale in comparison to some of the super stadiums around the world.
For now, though, they have no plans to sell up. Yet The Daily Star claim the Glazers would consider parting ways with the club should they receive an offer close to £9 billion.
That would make United the most valuable sports team in history, dwarfing NFL giants Dallas Cowboys – who are valued at close to £7 billion ($7.8 billion). But given how pricey such a potential takeover would be, it seems unlikely anyone will come forward with a formal offer at the current moment in time.
Ratcliffe recently spoke out on his interest in buying United, admitting he felt it was unlikely due to the Glazers’ current stance.
“I’m a lifelong Manchester United fan,” said the British billionaire, who is currently chairman of Ineos. “And I was there in that most remarkable match in 1999 in Barcelona, which is deeply etched in my mind. Manchester United is owned by the Glazer family. I met Joel and Avram, and they are the nicest people. They are gentlemen. And they don’t want to sell. And it’s owned by the six children of the father, and they don’t want to sell.
“If it had been for sale in the summer, yes, we would probably have had a go following on from the Chelsea thing. “But we can’t sit around hoping that one day Manchester United will become available.”
Ratcliffe then proceeded to open up on how the billionaire takeovers of the likes of Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain have changed the footballing landscape.
“When Chelsea came up for sale the three bidders were all American financial institutions,” he said. “And so they were looking at Chelsea as a financial asset. Whereas we looked at it as a community asset. So our view was that had we bought Chelsea, we would never have owned Chelsea. We would just have been the custodians for a period of time,” he observed.
The businessman added, “It’s like St Paul’s Cathedral. It’s part of the community and you shouldn’t treat it as a financial asset. And, interestingly, they can’t invest in the major football clubs in America. Because America doesn’t allow venture capitalists to buy sports clubs in America. So they come over to the UK and they buy ours.”
United are next in action against Omonia in the Europa League on Thursday night. And the Red Devils will be hoping to pick up all three points under the lights at Old Trafford.
United have won two of their three Europa League games so far this term, beating Omonia and Sheriff but losing to Real Sociedad.
- An Express report