Manchester United are facing a potential summer of chaos with a takeover confirmation not imminent, it has been reported.
The sun report that although Sir Jim Ratcliffe has been identified as the preferred bidder to purchase the club from the Glazer family, he has not yet been given the go-ahead and as such the club is in a position of increasing uncertainty as the summer approaches.
It is generally accepted that this summer is an important one for United, as Erik ten Hag still has a lot to do to shape his squad the way he envisions it.
The report claims the uncertainty surrounding the takeover could thwart the club’s aim of signing Harry Kane this summer, with the Tottenham striker said to be one of their main targets.
Other areas for improvement include the back four and midfield, while question marks linger over David de Gea’s place as Ten Hag’s number 1. United are expected to be among the most active Premier League clubs on the market this summer, although they could be . significantly hampered by delays in the sales process.
Sir Jim Ratcliffe would have been identified as the Glazers’ preferred bidder after six months
The club is in doubt whether or not it will be sold this summer amid speculation the Glazers could stay
Goals such as Harry Kane could prove unattainable if sales problems persist
That’s the legal squabble surrounding the deal, due diligence cannot be done by any party in the club until New York-based investment bank Raine Group, which oversees the sale, notifies both parties of their practice of proceeding to go.
Full due diligence of the accounts and other key areas could, it is said, take up to a month, meaning it could potentially be well into the summer by the time a successful party is able to make financial decisions.
The Glazers’ apparent indecisiveness throughout the process, which has seen three separate bidding deadlines since the turn of the year, with the announcement of an initial sale late last year, has further infuriated supporters.
Fans at the club lament a stadium that is a crumbling remnant of its former self, while Cristiano Ronaldo detailed in his bombshell interview with Piers Morgan last year how facilities at Carrington had not improved since he first left the club in 2009 .
The need for a sale to be completed before the summer has been outlined throughout the process, with much of the club’s strategy moving forward depending on the June, July and August periods.
How the club’s apparently delayed handover affects the club’s business is unclear. Even Ten Hag, the club’s manager, admits he is in the dark about the club’s purchasing power this summer.
“I don’t know,” he said. “All I know is that Man United are one of the biggest clubs in the world.
“But you need money to build squads, because the level of your players determines whether you are successful or not. High-level players cost a lot of money.’
The Ineos billionaire is one of two sides, alongside Qatari sheikh Jassim bin Hamad Al Thani (above), believed to be leading the bidding war
When asked if it is better to know where he stands as soon as possible, he replies: ‘Yes, it is clear what I want, but it is not up to me. It’s about others in this club. I focus on improving the selection and team development.’
There are said to have been complications during the bidding process, which lasted all year due to Joel and Avram Glazer’s desire to stay with the club.
Should Ratcliffe’s offer be the one the Glazers go with, it could open the door for other investors to join the process.
Throughout the bidding process, there has been constant muttering of US banks and financial institutions such as Carlyle purchasing a minority stake in the club.
Such an investment was envisaged in the context of the Glazers retaining overall control whilst also enabling new revenue streams to improve Old Trafford and the club’s Carrington base.
The reports suggesting that Ratcliffe’s bid is the one the Glazers will go for is likely to disappoint and perhaps anger certain parts of the support.
This sale process was celebrated at the turn of the year as a significant moment in the club’s history, when the Glazers would leave Manchester for the last time, never to return.
However, it is believed that Ratcliffe’s offer is structured so that they would remain at the club – albeit in a much smaller and less powerful capacity than they currently enjoy.
There were protests ahead of the club’s most recent home game against Aston Villa, with a significant proportion of supporters saying the sale should mark a clear break from the previous 18 years.
Erik ten Hag has admitted that he has become none the wiser about the size of Manchester United’s transfer budget this summer
Nevertheless, a recent report from Sky News suggested that their presence at the club would end in 2026 due to a clause included in Ratcliffe’s bid.
They reported that Ratcliffe’s takeover offer includes “put-and-call options that would become exercisable in 2026.”
A source reportedly told Sky News that the put-and-call arrangements would force the Glazers to sell their remaining shares to him or force him to acquire them.
The clause could trigger as little as three years into the deal and would ultimately push the Glazer family out of the picture.