Man Utd takeover: Sheikh Jassim camp left 'bemused' by suggestions about new offer

In a quick turn of events, Ineos founder Sir Jim Ratcliffe is now the frontrunner to take over Manchester United ahead of Sheikh Jassim bin Hamed Al Thani. Ratcliffe reportedly valued the club higher than his Qatari rival, but Jassim’s camp is said to be ‘bemused’ by these suggestions.

The third and final bids for United were submitted before Friday’s 10pm deadline after six months of bidding. Jassim had been the favourite to land the club for the majority of the process, but it has now emerged that Ineos were the only bidder to have valued the club above £5b.

Ineos want to purchase 69 per cent of the Glazers’ shares and are understood to be keen on taking a controlling stake while allowing Joel and Avram Glazer to remain as minority shareholders. Meanwhile, Jassim is hoping to take over 100 per cent of the club.

And sources close to the Jassim camp are adamant that their offer exceeds the £5b plus valuation of the club despite suggestions otherwise.  Sources told the Telegraph that additional funding for the redevelopment of Old Trafford and the club’s training ground tops the bid and that they have met a similar price to Ineos.

However, the Daily Mail claims that those with knowledge of the process say that this is not the case and that the Ineos offer values the club higher.

Earlier this month, as the bidding war reached its latter stages, the Manchester United’s Supporters Trust released a statement calling for the end of a takeover impasse.

“When it was announced in November that the Glazers were undertaking a ‘strategic review’ and inviting offers to buy the Club, MUST welcomed the news and went on to urge the majority owners to move ahead with the process with speed, so that any period of uncertainty was as short as possible,” they said.

“Nearly five months on, we read speculation that offers from prospective buyers remain below the Glazers valuation, and that a third round of offers will now be invited. With Erik Ten Hag having made such great progress in his first season, and with the vital summer transfer window a matter of weeks away, the news of these delays and further prolonged uncertainty are of great concern.

“Erik needs to know what resources he has to spend so he can make the signings the club needs, and the whole management resources of the club need to be focussed on supporting him in that. That cannot be the case with the future ownership so unclear.

“We are also unable to move forward on major investment projects – not least the stadium redevelopment as we remain in limbo. We are in dire need of new investment, which undoubtedly requires new ownership.

“MUST, along with United fans all around the world, are calling for this process to be concluded without further delay.” The Glazers are expected to come to a decision in the coming days.