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The Raine Group, who have been helping the Glazers amid their willingness to sell Manchester United, are reportedly expecting a bid for the club from the Middle East. The Red Devils’ current owners are open to walking away after nearly 18 controversial years in charge. And though Sir Jim Ratcliffe has registered an interest, he’s the only candidate when it comes to a potential takeover.
The Glazers confirmed in November they were open to selling United, saying: “The process is designed to enhance the club’s future growth, with the ultimate goal of positioning the club to capitalize on opportunities both on the pitch and commercially.
“As part of this process, the Board will consider all strategic alternatives, including new investment into the club, a sale, or other transactions involving the Company.”
And, now, the Daily Telegraph say the Raine Group are expecting ‘a Middle East sovereign wealth fund will come to the table’.
Qatar currently own Paris Saint-Germain but they’ve shown a willingness to branch out ever since the World Cup in the country.
Saudi Arabia have previously purchased Newcastle, who have been flying under Eddie Howe ever since.
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And Manchester City are owned by the United Arab Emirates, who have transformed them into one of the best teams on the planet since their takeover in 2008.
The Glazers reportedly want as much as £5billion to let the club go.
And that would make it the biggest takeover in English football history, dwarfing the £2.5bn Todd Boehly paid for Chelsea last year.
While the Middle East are expected to join the running for United, however, it’s American-based private equity groups who have been discreetly making moves behind the scenes.
That would likely disgruntle fans, especially given the way the Glazers have gone about their work at the club over the best part of two decades.
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Some who have reportedly joined the sale process think United may not even get new owners.
The Glazers are open to investors arriving, as well as a full takeover, and that could appeal to some candidates.
And what ultimately happens remains to be seen.
Regarding Ratcliffe, meanwhile, Greenpeace have called on United to refuse bids from the INEOS chairman amid fears over what his company are doing to the environment.
A Greenpeace UK spokesperson told The Mirror: “Accepting this bid would be an awful own goal for Manchester United.
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“Petrochemicals giant INEOS is just the latest fossil fuel company trying to use a popular sport to distract from their climate-wrecking business.
“With interests in oil and gas, plastics and agrichemicals, INEOS has a hat-trick of environmental harms to its name.
“They are top of the table for plastic production in the UK and are one of the loudest voices in favour of fracking.
“Manchester United should really question whether polluting their image and enabling blatant sportswashing is really worth the dirty money they would get.”
Gary Neville, meanwhile, thinks Ratcliffe would be a suitable owner for United.
“The main thing is that the Glazers leave as quickly as possible and the second thing is that whoever takes it over, if they could hand it over to people who are in good hands and have a feeling for the club, that would be great,” Neville told Sky Sports.
“Jim Ratcliffe was born in Manchester and knows the area. If he wins it, I think there will be a lot of very happy Manchester United fans.
“He would want to do the right thing by the club – in fact I am sure that he would.
“That’s the main thing beyond the Glazers leaving, that they don’t hand it over…I don’t think United can hand it over to another investment firm who are expecting a return on their money.
“That’s what worries me a little bit about private enquiry coming into football and that ultimately, they are looking for a return on their money and a return on their investment.”
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