Sir Jim Ratcliffe‘s takeover of Manchester United may not be announced until next week, according to reports. The INEOS founder wanted a deal wrapped up by now but there are fresh fears that there could be a further delay to official confirmation.
Ratcliffe is set to buy a 25 per cent stake in United worth around £1.3billion. The British billionaire saw off competition from Sheikh Jassim, who wanted to pull off a complete takeover of the Old Trafford club.
Current United owners the Glazers will still be majority shareholders once Ratcliffe’s purchase is ratified. However, the lifelong Red Devils supporter will be handed responsibility of the football department.
He is set to build a new hierarchy in that regard and is on the search for a new sporting director, with chief executive Richard Arnold already confirmed to be leaving. But there is growing frustration that the investment is yet to be announced.
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And, according to the Telegraph, that may not come until next week. It is claimed that Ratcliffe wanted everything to have been confirmed by now.
But there is every chance it won’t be finalised before Thanksgiving starts in the US on Thursday. There is therefore a realistic prospect that the saga will go on until the final week of November.
This week will mark a year since the Glazers put United up for sale. It wasn’t clear from the start whether the American family were wanting a clean break or were only looking for new investment in the club.
Ratcliffe and Qatari Sheikh Jassim quickly became the two leading candidates. Sheikh Jassim submitted bids up to £5.5bn but fell short of the Glazers’ valuation of more than £6bn.
Co-owners Joel and Avram Glazer were still keen to stay at the club while other members of the American family were said to be happy to cut ties. Ratcliffe never proposed a full takeover but had offered to buy 51 per cent to take a controlling stake.
In October it emerged he was set to buy less than half of that, with 25 per cent costing him around £1.3bn. Ratcliffe is set to have a big say on transfer dealings at United.
However, the January window may come too early for him and his new staff to put their stamp on the club. The Telegraph claims there will be a six to eight-week wait for the Premier League to ratify the purchase once it is finally confirmed.