Manchester United were heading for a full takeover until the Glazer family pulled the plug on Sheikh Jassim bin Hamad Al Thani’s increasing hopes, according to reports. United’s 11-month takeover saga looks set to conclude with minority investment from Sir Jim Ratcliffe, leaving many unsatisfied.
But no one will likely be more frustrated than Sheikh Jassim, who emerged as the only candidate vying to buy 100 per cent of the club earlier this year.
The Qatari royal went as high as £5.2billion with his offer, double the club’s market value, but the Glazers demanded at least £6bn to consider cashing in.
Continued resistance prompted Sheikh Jassim to withdraw from the process earlier this month, paving the way for Sir Jim to buy 25 per cent of United in a deal worth £1.4bn.
It will keep the Glazer family in majority power at Old Trafford but hand INEOS total sporting control in the first stage of a potentially phased takeover.
Football finance expert Kieran Maguire has claimed that Sheikh Jassim agreed to raise his offer to the Glazers on numerous occasions.
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However, the United States-based owners changed their demands when his Qatar camp grew confident that an agreement was imminent.
“I’m not surprised that Qatar completely withdrew,” Maguire told Football Insider.
“Senior sources close to the Sheikh Jassim bid have indicated to me that there was increased frustration towards the conduct of the Glazers.
“On more than one occasion, they had agreed to increase the bid. They had agreed to some concessions as far as the demands of the Glazers were concerned.
“Yet every time they felt they were close to shaking hands on a deal, the terms were changed. In the end, they didn’t want to be taken advantage of.”
Many fans are pleased to see Sir Jim inherit sporting operations at United, which have been significantly below par for most of the decade since Sir Alex Ferguson and David Gill’s departures in 2013.
And some consider an initial minority stake the only way Sir Jim could’ve put his foot in the door to eventually remove the Glazers from Old Trafford.
But the promise of a full takeover, cleared debt and significant investment into the club and wider infrastructure has left a sour note on the tongues of those comfortable with a Qatari regime.
If anything, the Sheikh Jassim vs Sir Jim takeover battle has had nothing short of an anti-climactic finale.