Man Utd takeover: Top-four condition set as 'preferred' bid claim bad news for Ratcliffe

Manchester United bidders are one day closer to learning their fate as the Glazers and the Raine Group weigh up how they want the club’s takeover process to end. Express Sport provides a round-up of all the latest news and views around Old Trafford as judgement day looms larger.

Sheikh Jassim tipped as ‘preferred’ bidder

There are yet to be any concrete reports suggesting which option out of Sir Jim Ratcliffe, Sheikh Jassim bin Hamad al Thani or minority investment the Glazers plan to take.

However, sports finance expert Dr Dan Plumley believes the Glazers will lean toward Sheikh Jassim’s Qatari bid for a full stake because it will represent more money.

In an exclusive interview with Express Sport, he said: “I think the decisive factor is always simply money when it comes down to it. If not the best offer on the table, it’ll be the one that is slightly preferred based on the finances behind it.

“If that is the price (£5/6bn) that the Glazers are wanting or at least are willing to sell at for a full takeover, let’s say, my gut feeling on it, and you know you’re always speculating slightly, but I just think the Qatar bid is probably slightly preferred at the minute because it’s a full takeover.

“Also, through the connections of that owner, you know that you could get access to funds further down the line to build the club because you’ve got to look at infrastructure, you’ve got to look at squad development, etc.

“It’s not just the takeover price, it’s all the other stuff that comes with it, so it does feel like that’s the one that has the most clout.”

Champions League conditions

United are under increased pressure to qualify for next season’s Champions League after suffering back-to-back defeats to Brighton and Hove Albion and West Ham United last week.

Liverpool are just one point behind in fifth, albeit having played an extra game.

But The Athletic report that if the worst case occurs and United drop out of the top four at the final hurdle, the club’s takeover bids would be unaffected.

Ratcliffe and Sheikh Jassim want to take control at Old Trafford regardless of the Red Devils’ European status next term.

Qatari ownership could lead to Neymar

Neymar is reportedly eyeing a Premier League move after deciding he wants to leave PSG this summer.

ESPN claim the 31-year-old forward no longer feels welcome in Paris and wants to pursue a new challenge in England.

It follows an April report from The Sun, which stated that Sheikh Jassim would target Neymar as a statement signing in his first transfer window as United owner if his bid is successful.

If the Glazers select the Qatari banker as their preferred buyer and United qualify for the Champions League, there could be a realistic chance that Neymar arrives at Old Trafford too.

“It’s not unusual for these things to go that long, and actually, you will probably argue when you’ve got a £5/6 billion takeover in place that it does need to take time.

“You should be doing the full background checks all the way around. That’s the kind of time element to it, it might feel like it’s dragged on from fan’s point of view, but it was always likely to play out that way.

“It all seemed to be pointing towards a deal being done before the start of the next window so that the new owners potentially or investors could have plans in place for the summer and moving forward.

“I think we’re still on that timeline. I know it probably feels like we’ve been talking about it forever, but it seems to be that we’re moving towards that time scale still.”

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