General view of Manchester United's Old Trafford Stadium
General view of Manchester United's Old Trafford Stadium. Reuters


  • Sheikh Jassim bin Hamad al-Thani has submitted an improved bid that offers more money upfront
  • Sir Jim Ratcliffe's offer is still believed to be the best option for long-term gain
  • The Glazers will now need to choose whether they prefer money upfront or down the line

Manchester United has had a relatively successful campaign this year and will compete in the FA Cup final against cross-town rival Manchester City while also aiming to secure a spot in next season's UEFA Champions League with a top-four finish in the English Premier League.

However, fan attention is also keeping an eye on non-soccer-related activities being done with the club–particularly that of the impending sale by the Glazers family.

It was believed for quite some time that Sir Jim Ratcliffe, the owner of multinational England-based chemicals company Ineos, is the frontrunner to take control of the storied soccer club, but not if Qatar's Sheikh Jassim bin Hamad al-Thani has anything to say about it.

Sources now report that the former crown prince made an improved bid around the neighborhood of £5.5 billion ($6.8 billion) and, curiously enough, includes "clearance of the £1 billion ($1.3 billion) debt and a fund solely for the club and surrounding community."

According to those same sources, it was believed that Sheikh Jassim's offer was close to £5 billion ($6.2 billion) for complete control of the club while Ratcliffe bid only aimed for 50% ownership–allowing brothers Avram and Joel Glazer to retain 20 percent ownership.

Manchester United fans are in quite a pickle here since their distrust of the Glazer family has been very public, even chanting their displeasure at the current owners during matchdays while also waving banners that cemented the fanbase's frustrations with how they have run the club.

In that same vein, having Qatari owners would divide the fanbase due to the perceived notion that Qatar is simply trying to increase its influence around the world by owning a storied Premier League club–much like how Saudi Arabia now owns Newcastle United.

For the Glazers, choosing to sell to Sheikh Jassim makes a lot of sense since the money that they will be receiving now is significantly more than what they would get in the future if Ratcliffe were to become the owner.

However, one thing going for the multibillionaire Englishman is that the share price valuation is expected to remain the same according to Mike Keegan of Mail Sport.

Simply put, it means that the Glazers will need to choose whether they prefer the big-money offer being offered to them upfront by Sheikh Jassim or the long-term potential that Ratcliffe offers.

With the current owners being relatively silent as to which side they are leaning toward, the sale saga of Manchester United will continue to roll on until a winning bid has been announced.

Unpopular owners - Manchester United fans hold banners calling for their team's owners, the Glazer family, to leave the club, during a Premier League match against Leicester at Old Trafford
Manchester United fans hold banners calling for the team's owners, the Glazer family to leave the club. AFP