Sheikh Jassim of Manchester United has set his own timeline.
The Qatari suitors have made a fifth offer to purchase the club and are expecting a response by Friday, which will mark 200 days after the Glazers announced a strategic review that effectively put the team up for sale.
That’s 200 days of missed deadlines and procrastination. The Glazers recruited the Raine Group to handle the process, and as one source stated when the time for third bids approached, they had been hustling on behalf of United’s despised owners throughout.
Initially, this was thought to be a sale including three bids from interested parties, but here we are, a few days before the transfer window opens, and we still don’t know who will buy United in July or August, when the big deals start to happen.
We have now reached a stage where the supporters, Erik ten Hag, and the bidders themselves are all frustrated. It needs to come to an end.
Every goal scored by United this season has been met with a rendition of anti-Glazer songs, and the slow pace of the sale has only hardened opinions about the club’s nearly 18-year owners. Some supporters have been divided by the differing character of the deals.
While Sheikh Jassim’s bid seeks a full takeover and wants to erase the debt, Sir Jim Ratcliffe’s offer would not instantly clear the debt and would keep the Glazers in a minor role for the time being. Even if they don’t have much say, the thought is distasteful to many supporters.
But it’s inexplicable that a choice hasn’t been made when the consequences would be obvious throughout the transfer window. Even as agreements continue to fall into place, there is still uncertainty at Old Trafford.
One thing is certain: the Glazers’ primary motivation has been abundantly established during the last six months. Following the fiasco of the Super League, there was a sustained push to insist that they do care. Or, at the very least, Joel and Avram are concerned. Kevin, Bryan, Edward, and Darcie had been waiting to cash in their chips for quite some time.
Avram has gone to Wembley this season to see United in the Carabao Cup and FA Cup finals, as well as the women’s squad in their FA Cup final, but their continual attempts to milk out every last dollar demonstrate their true goals are financial.
Perhaps this is all simply good business sense, and if Sheikh Jassim’s fifth bid is successful, the Glazers will be pleased with themselves. But no one is certain.
In fact, we don’t know if they intend to sell at all. The option of a minority investment remains open. They may also be retained as part of Ratcliffe’s Ineos proposal.
You’d think we’d have gotten answers by now, but even if it affects summer plans and the football team, which is, after all, the objective of this whole thing, it doesn’t seem to matter.
So, whatever happens next, we can only hope that this is a deadline that someone in this process actually meets.