Man Utd takeover: Jim Ratcliffe warns Glazers with ‘stupid’ remark as new bid expected | Football | Sport
Ineos chief Sir Jim Ratcliffe has warned the Glazer family that he would rather walk away from a deal to buy Manchester United than spend a ‘stupid’ amount of money on the purchase of his boyhood club. Ratcliffe met with United chiefs on Friday as part of an in-person visit to Old Trafford as he bids to win over the Glazers amid stiff competition from a Qatar-based consortium, which is also hoping to buy the club from its current American owners.
Sheikh Jassim bin Hamad Al Thani also held talks with United bigwigs last week and have been widely tipped to join Ratcliffe in submitting their next bids for the club over the coming days, with both parties expected to submit new offers by the end of this week. However, it seems as though Ratcliffe could still walk away from the table after telling the Wall Street Journal that he is prepared to leave the process if it becomes apparent that he will need to meet demands he may later regret.
He said: “How do you decide the price of a painting? How do you decide the price of a house? It’s not related to how much it cost to build or how much it cost to paint. What you don’t want to do is pay stupid prices for things because then you regret it subsequently.”
It seems as though Ratcliffe would be a popular choice among United’s fanbase given his local connections and lifelong support for the club, with the 70-year-old going on to insist that his motivation for buying the Red Devils is for sporting reasons alone. He added: “Our interest in that club would be purely in winning things.”
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He also admitted that his pursuit of United has been a very different process to the rest of his business interests, explaining: “That in a sense goes without saying, because sport is emotional.”
It remains to be seen how the situation will play out between now and the start of next season, with the Glazers set to decide their next course of action once the new bids have been submitted over the coming days. There is still a possibility that any new investors could arrive in the form of minority shareholders, which would see United’s current owners retain at least some say in how the club is run.
Ratcliffe’s hopes of winning the race to buy the club could be dented by his apparent reluctance to commit to wiping United’s existing debt upon the completion of a possible takeover. The Qatari consortium, on the other hand, are reportedly prepared to do so but have faced criticism from some fans amid legitimate concerns over the country’s human rights record in recent weeks.
However, former United right-back Gary Neville recently played down the issue by suggesting that the horse may already have bolted regarding state-run clubs in the Premier League, telling Sky Sports: “There is some concern, [but] they want a debt-free club. They’ve become harmed mentally by debt, Man United fans, over these last few years.
“There’s a feeling they want an ownership that can compete with the Middle East estates we have in this league, which is Saudi Arabia at Newcastle and Abu Dhabi at Man City. From my point of view, there’s a white paper coming out later this week from the government. I know that might seem like really boring stuff around legislation through parliament of Tracey Crouch’s report and the independent regulator but I honestly believe, at this moment in time, the EFL are powerless, the FA are powerless.
“The Premier League is stuck in a lot of their governance because they’ve got 20 different owners with 20 different mindsets and vested interests and self-interests and we do need, most importantly, whether it be for Man United, Man City or the whole league, we need to know what is expected of owners in this country.
“Keep a cap and control on the clubs like Man United, Man City and Newcastle, who may have nation-state involvement, but allow other clubs to come up to their level of spending if they’ve got a wealthy owner that wants to come in.”
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