Thank you for reading this post, don't forget to subscribe!
Sheikh Jassim to make a second bid for Manchester United next week; his representatives visited club on Thursday to look at the stadium and training ground; Sir Jim Ratcliffe also expected to make second offer for United next week after INEOS visited club on Friday
By Kaveh Solhekol, Sky Sports News Chief Reporter
Sheikh Jassim Bin Hamad Al Thani would now be “willing to overpay” for Manchester United with a figure closer to the Glazers’ £6bn price tag and will make a second bid for the club next week.
It was previously understood the Qatari bidders were determined not to pay over the odds for the club, but that stance has softened in recent days coinciding with a delegation’s visit to Old Trafford on Thursday.
Following constructive meetings, Sheikh Jassim is consulting with his bankers and advisers on Friday in order to put together what he believes will be a compelling offer for the club.
Like all the other bidders, he is prepared to overpay for United because of its history and because it hardly if ever comes on the market.
A US insider says: “All the numbers people from the bidders will be working out the real value of the club over the next few days. They will be making second bids. The reality is their first bids were just indicative.
“In this process, the second bids next week are really the first serious bids.”
The Glazer family believe United is worth at least £6bn.
Ratcliffe expected to make second offer for Man Utd
British billionaire Sir Jim Ratcliffe is also expected to make a second offer for Manchester United next week after visiting the club on Friday.
The INEOS delegation spent six hours at Old Trafford and Carrington with meetings finishing at about 4pm.
Ratcliffe and INEOS are making no comment, and they will now go away and digest the information they received on Friday before making a new formal offer next week.
Ratcliffe, 70, flew in from Nice on Thursday and visited United’s management team at Old Trafford on Friday, alongside INEOS sport representatives.
He was photographed outside Old Trafford after meeting club executives – unlike Sheikh Jassim, who did not visit Manchester personally the previous day.
Sky Sports News chief reporter Kaveh Solhekol said: “It’s an interesting contrast with Sheikh Jassim. Sir Jim was happy to be filmed and photographed, and it was significant that Richard Arnold was there to greet him when he arrived, shaking his hand and being photographed then too.
“It gives you another sense that maybe the Glazers are serious about selling Man Utd.
“This was a high-powered delegation from INEOS, he was there with the two co-owners, Andy Currie and John Reece. Sir Dave Brailsford, who used to be the director of cycling at Team Sky – he’s now INEOS’ director of sport and he was there too.”
‘Mood music has changed with Qataris’
A Qatari delegation, meanwhile, travelled to Manchester from London by train on Thursday and received a warm welcome. Talks are said to have been positive and constructive across 10 hours – a lot longer than expected.
Sheikh Jassim and members of his team have been to Old Trafford as fans before, and the focus of this visit was to get a perspective on what they could do with their capital investment regarding infrastructure, youth development and the women’s team.
They have been trying to get a better understanding before they make another bid. United will obviously be “selling the dream” to achieve as high a price as possible if the club is sold.
It is too early for Sheikh Jassim to be there in person and he did not just want to go for a photo opportunity.
He has sent his top team of experts in finance, banking, property and law with the Qataris totally committed and in this to buy the club.
Sky Sports News has been told by sources in New York that “there should be no doubt at all that Sheikh Jassim wants to be the owner and custodian of United”.
Solhekol said: “If the Glazers are serious about selling Manchester United, I think the club could change hands by the end of the season, before the transfer window opens in the summer.
“We can’t be sure what their criteria are for who they want to sell the club to. Will it be the right person or just who puts the most money on the table?
“If it was just down to money, you would think the Qataris would be able to outbid anyone. I’ve been told previously the Qataris were going to be sensible and not overpay wildly for Manchester United.
“But in the last couple of days, the mood music has changed a little bit. And I’m being told the Qataris really want to buy Manchester United and they are willing to overpay. But I think anybody who buys the club will have to do that – because the Glazers are asking for about £6bn.”