Manchester United have reportedly rejected Sheikh Jassim’s attempts to buy the club as takeover talks continue. The Red Devils’ current owners, the Glazer family, announced one year ago that they were seeking ‘a thorough evaluation of strategic alternatives’ when it comes to financing the club.
In all but name it was a statement welcoming offers to buy or invest in one of the biggest clubs in the world but has not gone smoothly so far. 12 months on and there is still no clear route towards a change of hands for the club despite numerous claims of a preferred bidder being chosen throughout.
Coming to the fore in these talks has been Qatari banker Jassim and INEOS owner Jim Ratcliffe. However, that appears to have changed with Fabrizio Romano reporting that Jassim’s team have confirmed that they have been withdrawn from the process.
He writes on Twitter: “Sheikh Jassim has presented a full cash bid, clearing all old debt, with zero new debt, for 100% of the Club.” He added on Youtube: “At the moment the takeover with the Qatari group is more than complicated, we always have to wait for the official steps but that is the feeling.
“What happened is in the recent days Sheikh Jassim and his team, his group, had new conversations, new discussions, new negotiations with the Glazer’s family advisors to discuss Manchester United and Sheikh Jassim presented a kind of new structure and proposal to buy Manchester United.
“The answer from the Glazers in recent days from this discussion was very clear, they said again no to the proposal of Sheikh Jassim.”
It leaves United in a state of continued flux and remains one of the biggest stories in the league currently as Erik ten Hag’s men languish in 10th place in the league. Having already lost six games in all competitions the former Ajax manager has come under pressure despite leading the club to a third-place finish last year and the Carabao Cup.
This year has not brought the improvement expected though despite big money transfers for Mason Mount and Rasmus Hojlund and the Old Trafford faithful have continued to turn their anger towards those running the club with mass protests. For their top four competitors it is hardly the worst thing going.
United already appear to be distracted both on and off the pitch and are sitting five points off the current Champions League places. It’s another three points more to Arsenal and Tottenham at the top of the table whilst Chelsea are gaining on them after a recent run of form and are just one point behind.
As well as complicating matters off the field and likely contributing to an increasingly toxic atmosphere, the latest news and the decision made to effectively cut Jassim from talks could also impact how the club go about transfer business.
January could be a key month in deciding how the second half of the season pans out with a queue of teams looking set to fight for additional firepower. However, not only could this takeover delay cause uncertainty to prospective players, it might leave the Glazers in-between a rock and a hard place.
If they remain committed to trying to sell the club then it is logical that they won’t be prepared to launch extra money into new players midway through the sale process and even if they did it may well put off potential new signings due to the state of the club. Such is the complex nature of the sale so far there is no timeframe and that only adds to the issues facing United but also act as benefits to the rest of the team.
British businessman Sir Jim Ratcliffe could now complete a purchase of 25% of Manchester United as he became the last remaining bidder.
The Mirror reports: “Qatari banking tycoon Sheikh Jassim bin Hamad al-Thani has withdrawn his £5 billion bid to buy Manchester United – with Sir Jim Ratcliffe set to swoop in for 25% of the club.
“United refused to comment on reports that Sheikh Jassim has finally ended negotiations with the Glazer family after the latest round of talks failed to find an agreement to move forward.
“But he has informed Raine Group, the New York investment banking firm tasked with finding new investors, that he has terminated his interest.
“Ratcliffe is now the only bidder left at the negotiating table – although the deal being proposed by Britain’s richest man would see the despised American owners remain in control.”
The Sun reports that Inter Milan chief executive Giuseppe Marotta is open to bringing back Manchester United goalkeeper Andre Onana.
“Andre Onana could make a stunning return to Inter Milan one day, according to their CEO Giuseppe Marotta,” claims the paper.
“The Cameroon star quit Inter to join Manchester United in a £47 million summer deal.
“Speaking at the Gazzetta dello Sport Festival, Marotta discussed the possibility of Onana ever returning to the Nerazzurri.
“He said: ‘Anything can happen in football, even if those who return do not always have positive results.’
“’It was an important experience for him and for us.’”
“Norwich face a fight to keep their emerging youngster Jon Rowe following the attacker’s goalscoring debut for England Under-21s on Thursday night,” the outlet states.
“Rowe has scored seven goals in 13 games for The Canaries so far this season and is fast building a reputation as one of the most exciting young talents outside the top-flight.
“And his performances are attracting attention from Premier League teams, with Aston Villa and Crystal Palace among the sides believed to be monitoring his progress ahead of the next two transfer windows.
“Rowe currently has just over 18 months left on his current deal at Carrow Road, although there is an option to extend that by a further year.
“However, Norwich’s hopes of tempting Rowe into signing fresh terms are set to be complicated by growing interest from top-flight teams.
“Norwich would look to recoup a minimum £20 million for Rowe if they decided to sell.”