Manchester United bidders poised for first meetings with club to discuss sale
Mar 3, 2023
Sheikh Jassim bin Hamad al-Thani and Sir Jim Ratcliffe are expected to hold first meetings with Manchester United over the next fortnight regarding their respective bids to buy the club.
It is understood that if no agreement is reached before the end of the season this may put a deal in jeopardy. The new owner would ideally want to put in place a transfer policy for the summer window.
Thani and Ratcliffe are intent on moving forward a process that has stalled as the Glazers hold out for a price closer to their £6bn valuation. Thani, via his Nine Two Foundation, and Ratcliffe, who owns Ineos, have bid no more than £4.5bn.
These discussions may be face to face if possible, in London or Manchester, and may initially include representatives of Thani and Ratcliffe, the United hierarchy and the Raine Group, which is conducting the sale for the Glazers.
There is also thought to be interest from investors seeking a minority share in United, though nothing in this regard has been made public.
Erik ten Hag has urged United to reverse poor away form against their major competitors by treating Sunday’s trip to Liverpool as a home game. The manager said there should be no difference because the ball is still round and the pitch the same size.
Ten Hag acknowledged his players would have to overcome a hostile atmosphere but sees no reason why they cannot win. His side won August’s reverse fixture and secured home victories against Manchester City and Arsenal, teams they lost to away.
United are yet to travel to Newcastle and Tottenham, the other sides in the top six. Ten Hag is relaxed about performing on the road. “For me it’s no different: the pitch is the same size everywhere, there are three referees, there’s a fourth [official], the ball is round, there is air in the ball,” he said. “So we have to play and to make it our game, and of course we know the ambience will not be supporting us and you have to deal with that. But our players like it. They like to play in such atmospheres.”
Liverpool are unbeaten in four Premier League matches, taking 10 points. Ten Hag was asked what message beating them would send. “That is the next step we have to make,” he said. “I’m looking forward to it, the ambience, the atmosphere. It will be great, it will be hostile against us, but we like that … My team will be prepared to go there and fight and with confidence. We know it’s going to be difficult, we know we will have to suffer and we will have to sacrifice to get a good result.”
United are third with 49 points, 10 points ahead of Liverpool, but Ten Hag would not be drawn on their rivals’ uneven season. “I’m not talking about Liverpool, it’s not my responsibility,” he said. “I have enough to do here.”
Jadon Sancho, who has been ill, and Luke Shaw, who was injured, are expected to be available.
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MARIA FLOR LACHAMA
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